I found an online article regarding how unbiblical “church” is:
Today’s churches are unbiblical
13 April 2012, 14:26I am going to prove to you – from the Bible – that today’s churches are not what Jesus intended. Most of it is man-made and not from God.
But let me first say this:
* I am not doing this to denigrate the church
* Nor am declaring this “open season” for Atheist hunters
* Rather, this article is intended to be a wake-up call for followers of Jesus and is specifically aimed at them. At the end I will merely touch on what Jesus DID intend his church to be.
* I would therefore also appreciate it if Atheists refrain from using this as a smear campaign against the church or Christianity.
I would venture to say that very close to ALL of what we see or experience in the church today is man-made: it is not in the Bible and not from God.
Let’s focus more on the Protestant churches, and disregard obvious pagan rituals such as worshipping of saints and “Mother Mary”, valuing relics, etc.
With reference to the first-century Church described in the New Testament, can anybody therefore point out to me where the following church habits come from?:
* Church building: Let’s start with the “biggy”: where in the Bible is “church” ever described as a physical building (and I am not referring to the metaphor Paul used!). Did the real church (i.e. the Christ-followers who gathered together) ever OWN a building? Granted, the church met in the temple (for example), but only once-off on the odd occasion: when the itinerant apostles called them together for edification. They NEVER OWNED a building for the purpose of gathering. Nor can anyone claim that the “church” building is based on the Jewish synagogue – because even that is a man-made invention and not something required by God.
* Preaching: Was it the habit for anybody to preach a monologue from something even resembling a pulpit? This is a loaded statement; let’s unpack it.
– Pulpit? It was the normal habit of Jesus and the apostles to mingle with the people, sit on the grass or mountainside. They did not stand behind a pulpit to preach.
– Monologue? Did they make a habit of giving an uninterrupted, one-sided monologue sermons? No, they spoke like natural people: they had conversations and allowed people to talk, comment and ask questions.
– Preach? Did they have a neatly prepared sermon, with an catchy opening, three major points, an application and a closure? No, Jesus spoke what he heard the Father tell him. Another word (and in my opinion a better word) for “preach” is to “proclaim”. The apostles didn’t “preach” in today’s style, no, they PROCLAIMED – and lived – the living Christ!
* Organisational hierarchy: Where in the Bible was there ever an organisational hierarchy? In the New Testament church (again, I refer to the people when I say “church”) there were no such things as “professionals” and the “laity”. No, there was only ONE “level”: the priesthood of all believers. The apostles had one aim: to glorify Christ in their proclaiming him, as well as through the Kingdom lives of their brothers and sisters as they grow towards maturity in Christ and bear the fruit of the One they believe in. Although they had the benefit of direct exposure to Jesus and his teachings, the apostles still did not take that as a license to become “professional clergy”. The apostles were people like you and me before God, and they even had another job as their main income. Even the elders were merely people of good character and more experienced in life, who were servants and organised things as where necessary – and not on a semi-professional, we-sit-in-front-basis. Many of today’s “clergy” see themselves, consciously or subconsciously, as someone who has to “hear from God on behalf of the lay people”, and slowly they start taking the place of an intermediary between God and man, thinking (or at the very least, creating the impression) that they are somehow “more special” than the “lay people” in the eyes of God. What is even worse, in selling this lie, they are also inevitably withholding the children of God from maturing in Christ – but rather make them dependent upon the “professional” – and robbing God of his glory!
* “Praise and worship”: Where was the form (that today’s church made it) in the Bible? I am referring to the New Testament church and not the odd occasion where musicians specifically did something in the Old Testament when commanded by God, of after a battle victory. In the NT, the church people got together in a house and, amongst other things, sang psalms to God. You did not have to be selected for your superior talent “to sing in the choir”, or to “play in the band”. No, it was informal: just as you are, whether you could sing or play an instrument – or not. God does not look at how well you sing or play an instrument if you want to praise him that way: he looks at your heart’s intentions. Even the term “praise and worship” has had a very negative effect: praising and worshipping God is a continuous LIFESTYLE, not a once-a-week thing undertaken by semi-professionals where those who did not make the cut merely get to sing along.
* The form of communion: Nowhere in the NT is the remembrance of Christ’s body and blood through the eating of bread and drinking of wine/grape juice ever reduced to a formal, “heavy” ceremony that only happens once a month or quarter. No! Communion was a communal FEAST! People met at houses and brought food and drinks, as well as bread and wine. The broke the bread, ate it and shared the wine, but they did it in the light of the victory that Christ brought through his suffering. It was a celebratory feast! And it was normal people, like you and me, who organised and took part in it – as regularly as they wanted. The services of a “professional” was not required to be able to do this: the free brothers and sisters of Christ, the children of God, did it!
I can go on about topics such as:
* Membership: When did anybody in the NT become a “member” of a church? They were saved, baptised and became part of a vibrant community of believers, part of the body of Christ, where they lived out their faith and brotherly love as a “display window” to the rest of the world.
* Liturgy: There was no liturgy in the NT, but everything came naturally and freely, as the people were led by the Holy Spirit. Obviously, order was required, but the problems became less as people became more mature and self-disciplined in Christ, instead of being bound by a structured, man-made liturgy.
* Tithing: Is tithing biblical in the New Testament, where it was actually ONE of the forms of TAX in the Old Testament? Not only did Jesus do away with those things, but the Jews were under a Roman taxation system at the time, just as you and I are now paying taxes. Jesus does not want our money: he wants our whole LIFE!
* Robes: Thank heavens this is a dying habit, but the robes that are still worn by some of the clergy is a left-over from the pagan Roman judicial system
Suffice it to say that the church “system” of today is a man-made institution, and is something quite foreign to the church that started soon after Christ departed. It crept in as a result of centuries of small deviations, that eventually became one big man-made construct. I believe that, if Christ were to return today, he would not be able to recognise the church, and I dare say that the church would most probably also not recognise him anymore…
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Fortunately, people are starting to read the Bible with open eyes. The “professionals” are losing threir grip. What is written about the church in the Bible, is not what one sees nowadays. People are seeing through the man-made institutions that are charismatic-led, “miracle”-working, money-making companies. They want the real thing, but think it does not exist. Eventually they cannot else but leave the foreign thing that calls itself “church”…
The good news is that the real New Testament organic church is not dead! It is very much alive. But because it is not a man-made institution that is organised around an expensive building, with professionals advertising their services in the local newspaper, it is not very visible.
People are slowly returning to the first-century model of the church, where they come together in houses as brothers and sisters of Christ, children of God, who have it in their hearts and mind to glorify the triune God by growing in maturity towards Christ, edifying one another and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a Kingdom community!
But don’t be fooled: not every cell group and house church is an organic, New Testament-model church. Search the Bible for what Jesus intended. Lay down your own agenda and any religious agenda/baggage that you may have of the church, and pray and seek in the Bible GOD’s agenda for the bride of Christ.
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For those interested to learn more, I can recommend Frank Viola’s books on this topic (in which I have no financial interest, but they address the core of the problem and solution):
* Pagan Christianity? (Exploring the roots of our church practices)
* Re-imagining Church
* Finding Organic Church
Here is my reaction:
Another huge reason churches are unbiblical is that they participate in and hardly question the abuse of neighbours, starting with the kill-off of 90+% of North American indigenous peoples and their continued marginalisation, and working your way up to supporting wars against Muslims and any other neighbours they choose to hate.
American and Canadian culture is built on the suppression of non-white, non-Christian ethnic and religious groups. Why do Christians not question and fight this evil system? As integral parts of this system, Christians not only waste their time meeting together, but they bring the holy name Christ along with the Holy Bible into disrepute.
All Christian activities, include “house” or “organic” or “simple” or “emerging” church is meaningless when you refuse to repent from genocide and imperialism, which = hating God and neighbour. North American Christianity is everything God hates, is the antithesis of the Bible’s doctrine and themes, and is exactly what Jesus, the prophets and apostles all railed against.
Watch some documentaries or read some books or online articles about US or Canadian history regarding First Nations / Native Americans. The oppression is going, by the way. Read or watch materials on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. See who actually backed George Bush and Canada’s Stephen Harper: church people.
South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders, other colonies or former colonies: same boat.
Don’t claim that your politics and religion is separate when they’re not. Don’t say that I’m mixing the world’s actions with Western Christians’ actions. You yourselves are committing evil in your everyday lives by supporting a system that is killing and impoverishing people. Repent, fight the system and then meet together. In homes, not your money-squandering church buildings. Without pastors. They are the source of 99.9% of your problems, blind leaders of the blind. Lead yourselves, and focus on the social justice mentioned throughout Scripture.
If Christ came back, He would tell Western and Western-influenced churches: “Depart from Me, I never knew you!”
Why? Simply because, you hated God and loved money, fame and power, and you hated your neighbour. The fruits reveal the heart condition. It really doesn’t matter whether or not your “prayed the sinner’s prayer”, “accepted Jesus into your heart”, or subscribe to the Apostle Creed or your church’s Statement of Faith. All is a waste of time if you still live for money and support Fascists like Bush, Obama, Romney, Harper, etc.
Leave this fake brand of Christianity, and start to follow the Real Deal. Today, before it’s too late.