I’ve been a believer and by faith attempting to allow Christ to live through me for nearly 30 years. In some aspects, this is not very long and I will be the first to admit that I have much “dying to self” left to go.
Since first coming to Christ (or more correctly Christ coming to me), I’ve been amazed how we in the body of Christ sense a need to separate ourselves from other believers and organize ourselves into formalized groups which are segregated either by beliefs, religious practices, age, social status, race, economics, and other discriminators. I’m really not sure why we do that. It’s somewhat interesting to watch and sadly difficult for me to reconcile how we as the “body of Christ” can be separated from one another, but none the less we do.
Christians want to organize everything
It appears that we Christians generally segregate and isolate ourselves from others based on a pre-determined set of values or beliefs, some which are somewhat defined and distinguishable, but more often than not they have no Biblical basis for separating. We often separate ourselves based purely on personal preference rather than over core Biblical doctrine.
Even those religious institutions and Christian denominations that would strongly object to being known as traditional and reject any thoughts of being “formal or rigid” usually have very formalized organizations hiding just below the surface.
We often rationalize our need for organizations by statements such as:
“many hands make a light load”, and
“we can accomplish more collectively working together, that we can working separately”, and
“if we don’t do it, who will”, and
“we need to be united in this”, and
“if all of us contribute our resources, we can accomplish great things for Christ”, and…
God Can DO More if we are Organized!
Really…? Is this really the true? ABSOLUTELY NOT! God created the heavens and the earth, and everything seen and unseen without us or our organizations. No, our “Christian” organizations exist to satisfy us and because they appeal to us. Our ancestors were no different when they created the tower reaching into the heavens in the ancient city of Babel (Genesis 11). God was displeased with those folks and confused their languages and scattered them over the face of the earth.
Are North American Churches Man-Centered or God-Centered?
Do we create our organizations and houses of worship because in some way they appeal to our pride and fallen nature? Sometimes our thoughts are wrong and we think that God is inept and incapable of doing anything in which we don’t first organize and create a mechanism or conduit for Him to work through.
It’s amazing that God was able to spread the gospel in the first century though Paul, Barnabas, Timothy and others without the help of our foreign mission boards, cooperative programs, and other sending agencies. It is even more amazing how He called those that are His to Himself (Acts 2:41, Acts 4:4) without our mega churches – how did He do it?
We Have to Help God Out
The reason we organize is because we are “attempting” to do what only God can do and we are not willing to wait for Him to do it; so, we have to help Him out. I guess we think that He needs our help. So off we go, …setting up mega churches and small churches and everything in between. Somehow, however we miss the part about the “good Samaritan” who simply ministries to those that God brings into his life (Luke 10:25-37). So to hell with the people I pass on the street, I’m late for church!
We cannot do ANYTHING for God, nor does He want us to. God says we are dead (Romans 6), so we must be dead. The only thing in us that can glorify God, is God living in us and accomplishing through us what He wants done. Nothing more, or less, is required.
Satan Just Loves When We Get Organized!
… because it is at that very point that we have given up on God, because God isn’t doing all that we want Him to do, so we must help Him out. And in doing so, we become blasphemers and unbelievers attempting to accomplish through our dead flesh what only God can do (Matthew 7:21). Let the organizations go, and hold fast to God.
We also would rather our religious organizations tell us how to live and what to do
…rather than allow the Spirit of God to speak, lead and guide us. We are lazy, and much prefer being told how to “please God” rather than be still before Him and allow Him to speak. We are no different that the Pharisees in the day of Jesus.
For those of you that would disagree,
…I have read and understand 1 Timothy, Ephesians 4, and 1 Corinthians 12 and other references that I’m sure come to your mind. Remember the context and time in which these were written. This was written to the “called out” (elect) who were worshiping God in homes as the Spirit brought them together. I assure you, that what we see today in North America is nothing like what was instructed in the first century. That’s ok, though, the North America church will run its course and be just like their cousins in Western Europe in another 25 years… oh wait, we’re already there.
What “It” Should Look Like
If you wish to see an example of what was written in the first century in practice today, you can. You just have to go to North and East Africa, Central Asia, China, Indonesia and other places where to be openly known as a believer and follower of Christ will cost you your life. In those environments, organizations are stripped away, true fellowship with other believers occur, souls come to Christ, and God is Highly Glorified!