SIGNS OF CHURCHIANITY
11Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Heb 4:12)
"It's my turn to choose."
"Ok. Then you be the robber an' I'll be the cop."
"That's better. No, I don't want to play cops 'n robbers. I want to play something else this time."
"I want to play god."
"Ok, but I get to be god."
"No sir! It was my idea, so I get to be god."
"Ok, but I get to be King of the World."
"Well, ok then, but not 'til I make you king."
"I gotta' dab you first."
"You gotta' what me?"
"I'll show you. See? I take my sword and you get down on your knees in front of me...."
"I feel silly."
"You look silly, but this is the way they do it in the movies. Now I take my stick....I mean my sword and put it on your head."
"Not hard though."
"No, easy like. Then I says; I, god, biggest of all of everything in the whole university, make you .... what's your name going to be, Billy?"
"King Billy the Greatest of all Greats."
"I now dabs you, King Billy...."
"Not dabs, it's dubs."
"Ok, but don't interrupt god when he's dubbing. I now dubs you King Billy the Greatest of all the Great kings of the whole world!"
Children love to play grown-up, don't they? In the games of a child there is no limit to what a person can become. And often, in their own imagination, they are that very thing they pretend to be.
9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Mat 5:)
38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; (Mat 13:)
19My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Gal 4:)
45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Mat 5:)
7And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. (Mark 9:)
Knowledge does not keep our head out of the clouds, I have observed. For instance, knowledge of the law does not keep one from breaking the law. On that very premise the Bible was founded; at least the Law part of the Bible was so founded. There is probably no one with more knowledge of the law (excluding practicing Jews) who know the law better than Cops and Robbers. Robbers learn the law in order to know how to get around the law, as do lawyers. Cops learn the law in order to enforce the law; yet looking at the newspaper it is obvious that, at least for some, this knowledge does not keep them from breaking the very law they are sworn to uphold.
Psychiatry is another such field. I have seen so many learned folk who knew very well the workings of the mind and the nature of man, yet all their knowledge did not keep them from falling into the same traps they were instructing others to stay out of.
David and Solomon are two others with great wisdom and understanding of human nature; yet both of these wise men ruined their own lives and the lives of many generations to come.
The game of "Church" is an excellent example of self-deception; and the results of playing the game of Church has dire consequences. There are no winners in this Worldly game played under the guise of the Spiritual and the Godly. Playing gets a player nowhere. Only Being, or more specifically for this era, Becoming is the only way to win.
"Ok, but how do we play it?"
"It's easy. Look, you put this towel over your shoulders like this."
"What's the towel for? I'm not wet."
"It's kind of like a robe thing. You know, kind 'a like what they wear in church when they preach."
"You mean like a bathrobe? Nobody wears bathrobes in the church I go to. Except when they dunk you in that big bathtub, sometimes. I guess then someone can wear a robe or something."
"No, no. preachers sometimes wear them so you can tell they're different from the rest of us. Otherwise you might not know they're a preacher. Ok, do you want to wear this towel or not?"
"Ok. But it's not a towel, it's a cape like Superman wears."
"Superman's not a preacher. Least not in our church."
"Well, he is in mine, and I'm him."
"Ok, so you're SuperPreacher. Now I pour this water over your head like this."
"Why are you pouring water on me? Is that why you gave me this towel to wear?"
"I don't know why they do it, they just do. But I think they dump salad oil on them instead of water."
"Use water. I don't like salads."
"Now I say, I now pronounce you SuperPreacher of, of..., what's the name of your church going to be called?"
"SuperChurch of Smallville."
"I now pronounce you SuperPreacher of the SuperChurch of Smallville! You may now kiss the bride."
"I don't know, it's just something they say."
"Well, it sounds dumb to me. I don't want to kiss nobody."
"Well, don't then. But now you're a preacher. That's how it's done."
"I'm a preacher now? But why? Don't God or somebody have to make people Preachers?"
"I'm god, remember?"
"That was the last game we played. You're not god anymore."
"Then your not a SuperPreacher."
"Ok, your god, but what do I do now?"
"You got to make some rules, like, you know, you can't smoke or chew gum in Sunday School or burp when the preacher is preaching."
"I don't smoke. 'Sides, why do I care if someone burps or chews gum?"
"It's not for you, dummy. You got to have rules so people can get to Heaven. That's what church is for, didn't you know anything?"
"No, I thought church was for grownups to do grownup kind of things, and us kids had to go too because no babysitter would come."
"That's part of it, I guess. But you got to have rules."
"But if I have rules, then no one would come. If I had to do a bunch of rules, then I wouldn't want to go to any church and like that."
"Then you got no rules in your church. That's ok by me if that's what you want."
"So now what do I do?"
"I guess you go out and get people to come to your church."
"What if I can't get nobody to come to my church, then what?"
"I guess you starve."
"Because the more people who come to your church, the more money gets put in that salad bowl they sends around. Don't they do that at your church?"
"Yeah, but I didn't know that money goes to the preacher. You mean he gets my quarter I put in that bowl on Sunday? I guess he eats pretty good then, don't he."
"If lots of people comes to church, he does. So you want to get as many people, 'specially rich ones to come to your church as you can."
"Ok, but I don't know many kids with money. But how do I get people to come anyway? I can't make them come. 'Sides that, every kid I know goes to a church already. How do I get them to come to mine instead?"
"Well, you got to give them something better than the other churches gives. Like at our church they gives coffee and donuts. Maybe you can give a candy bar instead. That's sure better than coffee I bet."
"Where'll I get the candy? I don't got no money to buy candy with."
"Use the money they put in the salad bowl."
"I don't got no salad bowl neither. Maybe this church thing isn't such a good game to play."
"Sure it is! Just look at all the big churches. It must be a good game, otherwise nobody would be playing it. Did you ever see the churches they show on TV? Trillions of people come to them every Sunday, maybe even hundreds."
"That preacher must be mighty fat if he gets fed by all them people."
"I guess so."
"But I still don't have no candy to give."
"No, but you got something else. You got a SuperChurch, and it's got a SuperPreacher that no other church has got. And you got no rules. People can go to heaven and they don't got to do nothing to get there."
"Ok, but no smoking though. I don't want no one smoking in my church. It burns my nose."
"Ok, no smoking. But don't tell them that 'cause if you do you got a rule, and you don't got no rules in your church, remember?"
"Ok, as long as nobody smokes."
In 1870 the Catholic First Vatican Council declared the Pope to be "Infallible," meaning (with certain restrictions) the Pope could make no mistakes, at least concerning his declarations of doctrine. This was called: the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. And this doctrine is still seen and believed today, even though doctrines issue forth from one Pope to another that conflict with those of the preceding Pope. So, therefore, if birth control happens to be a dreadful sin today, tomorrow it could be either a suggested no-no, or it could be permitted altogether. God's desires are not what He has said in His Book of Rules, but rather what He chooses to divulge through His spokesman.
And the Pope is not the only one who feels he has the ultimate Word of God, or the full understanding of God's Word. Like the children above, there are many Pastors and Theologians running off and devising their own roads to God. And the World follows after them like a hawk follows a sparrow.
Read the Book. The Bible makes it perfectly clear what to do in order to know the will of God. But to understand what the Book is saying, we must first be willing to totally give ourselves over to God and abandon our own wants and lusts.
A True Church will direct you to a closer and closer relationship with God. It will not tell you that you are ok as you are, but will nail every weakness and failure you have to the cross. I don't mean they will criticize you personally, but instead of hearing all about how wonderful you are, and how blessed you are just because you chose to come to that church; you will hear about sin and the condemnation of it until you fall to your knees begging God to forgive you and to cleanse you of your failures.
I see none of this being done today.
Correction. I do see this to a degree, but only in the "Cults."
And, strangely enough, when you talk to a "Cult" member, they are more than happy to talk about the Bible, and God, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit until you are worn to a frazzle.
Try talking about Jesus to a "Traditional" church member. They will talk to you about anything but Jesus (barring a few exceptional souls). The moment the sermon is over and the congregation is dismissed - so the singing to the Lord and the talking about the Jesus ceases as well.
Long ago it was common to attend camp meetings, revivals and churches where fire and brimstone messages were preached. Those were more Godly times, and the churches and meetings were often filled to overflowing. People wanted to be cleansed of their sins. People thirsted for God and knew they could not approach Him as they were but had to change into "robes of white." The "Fear of God" was the message then.
Worldly entertainment that pleases one's lust and appetite while placing no burden fills the Superbowl and the rock concerts. And they surely do haul in the cash. Plead to the carnal flesh and make your fortune and gain your fame. But tell people they are downright sinners doomed for hell unless they get right with God and they will run like rabbits from a coyote; just as they did from Jesus when He did more than feed them food and tell them what they wanted to hear.
It would appear that nobody will listen to and abide by rules any more, so they flock to those churches that do not require such to be in good standing with the "church." So the majority of churches cater to the whims of the Worldly in order to make them feel comfortable, believing that attending churches makes them saved "Christians" ready for the Pearly Gates. Now, there are those who will add a goodly portion of fire and brimstone and the need to follow Jesus and the Holy Spirit; but they dish with it the "escape clause" that professes these to be only a suggestion, not a Commandment.
Oddly enough, those churches called "Cults" that have strict rules that must be followed to remain in good standing, yet, according to the "Traditional" churches are doomed to hell for not believing as they have deemed imperative to believe, are filling their churches faster than most of the "Traditional" churches who are bending to the World. And, for the most part, if you want to see someone who acts the way a Christian would be expected to act outside of church, go to a "Cultist."
God is not in any of the churches. God never was in any of the churches. God is in some of the churches, but when He is, it is because someone who lives the Lord brings Him in with them. And when that person leaves, so does God.
The Temple of God is His people, His body of believers. Christianity has nothing whatever to do with a building. The Body of Christ is His Temple. Those who are not part of that body, God's Temple, are merely a part of an old decaying building, which is part and parcel joined to the World it is supposed to be separated from.
In order to pay for this expensive enterprise, this group of dedicated people decided to sell membership to their organization. This worked well, it did in fact bring in the people, and certainly people with prestige and money. However, these "elite" resented the presents of the rescued riffraff, so therefore they passed a rule stating that only "quality" folk would be allowed in their lighthouse club.
So the dedicated rescuers had to leave what they had started and begin anew elsewhere.
Such is the church. What might begin as a sincere effort, will over time degenerate into what is acceptable to the "elite" of the World.
Then through the ages, although the rules became more and more strict, people fell farther and farther from this Truth, and the behavior of the clergy and the laity became nothing better than that of the World they were to be separated from.
Man has the ability to justify that which he wishes to do. And the more he follows his desires, the easier it becomes to believe his own justifications.
Signs of Churchianity
Yet we of the church treat Christianity more like a religion than those who do claim they are a religion treat their religion.
"Christians" do less for their belief, and expect more from their "God" than any other of the religions, in fact Humanism, that claims not to be a religion puts far more effort into proselytizing and supporting their un belief, than the church does in supporting its belief. That is why Humanism is winning out in all circles - schools, Government, entertainment, etc. In fact, Humanism is even winning out in the churches because the churches are becoming more and more like the world. In fact, the largest churches are so much like the world, and so unlike a church, that the world floods to them for their entertainment - and pays through the nose for the privilege!
Where the Christian Faith has everything in this world, and for Eternity to win, Humanism has nothing to gain, because this world is all they got.
The political and social situation of the day might well be compared to the Hatfields and the McCoys, or the Republicans and the Democrats, or the Catholics and the Protestants. Unstable to say the least. And this does not even consider the dreaded Herodians or the feared Zealots or the passive Essenes.
The Sadducees were not a highly religious sect as were the Pharisees. Sadducees were inclined toward riches and had a political bent. They sought fame and fortune while keeping one foot in the door of religion much as do the Politicians of time past in this country (and still do to a degree until we totally shift away from Christianity as a National Religion). Their concern was more in protecting their position and the Temple as a status symbol than it was preserving the Temple as the House of God. When the beliefs of the Sadducees are fully considered, it becomes rather apparent that only this life had any meaning to them. Whereas the Pharisees were noted for being super pious with their phylacteries and tassels; the Sadducees were not so inclined.
Pharisees were not so much looking for the Political angle of things, but rather for the Spiritual. Pharisees worked regular jobs, remaining humble, not seeking fancy houses. Status is what appealed to them, not wealth. Paul, by his own admission was a "Pharisee of the Pharisees." He sought status; yet, he was a tentmaker, a lowly job without much chance of making him wealthy. Since the Politics of the nation of Judea was so interwoven with the Temple and the Religious, it was natural for Pharisees to be Politically motivated as well.
The Sanhedrin, or the Council of Elders (rulers), the 70, was made up of both Pharisees and Sadducees, the High Priest being a Sadducee because the Roman Government, who picked who would be the High Priest, chose them. Often this position was bought by the highest bidder rather chosen through Biblical methods as it was intended.
As you can see, the council who condemned Jesus was not so much concerned with the religious aspect of their convictions as they were preserving their Political place and position (John 11:48-52).
Tradition ruled the land of Jesus' day, as it does the church of the past and today. What the leaders believed, everyone had to believe or it was "off with their heads."
Pharisees were easy to spot. They followed the Traditions they were taught to follow. You could not have the attitude of a Sadducee and be a Pharisee any more than you could wear a Bear's or a Bronco's jersey to a Raider's home game.
An Orthodox Jew today is easily recognized by his cap and gown, and his continual bobbing as he prays.
It's custom. It's tradition. It's what ya gotta' do to be "in."
Of course some traditions change over the years, but those who remain "in," do whatever that change dictates.
It was others who misinterpreted Luther's words, which is what the Catholic church was doing with the Bible, and using them to suit their own goals. And, of course, many people putting in their two cents worth meant many different goals to set, therefore many denominations.
Tradition at work.
The difference between Christianity and Churchianity is; whereas Churchianity leads you further and further into the things of the world, that is, to satisfy or justify your lusts and pleasure, which include church activities and organizational protocols; Christianity takes you farther and farther from yourself and your wants, and closer and closer to being like God Himself, that is "In His Image."