Saturday, 10 December 2011


It's not so much a case of deciding to "go it alone"; in fact the Bible is actually quite clear on that subject (don’t!):

"We should not stop gathering together with other believers..." Hebrews 10:25 
As is it a case of being very cautious about high profile "preachers" who thrust their opinions and interpretations / understandings of the Biblical writings upon throngs (several thousand at a time, in many cases) of stifled people, sitting neatly row-by-row in a church pew.

Based upon the passage above (and I always suggest that those who read anything I write, or listen to anything I say, pick up the source doc for him/her self, and read, first-hand) at the very least, read a good couple of verses before and after the quoted passage.  Better still, read the entire chapter, to gain full applicable context.  Most importantly of all, NEVER EVER take another man's (woman's) word, for anything other than his / her own conduct.  IE I say I am happy, you kind of have to take me at my word.  However, I say "the world is FLAT!"  My goodness, I would hope you check out any and ALL verifiable fact(s).

In fact the Bible actually says that "... where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Matthew 18:20.  Not wanting to "force" my personal interpretation of this passage, I simply offer my understanding of the verse.  Essentially this: Church is, simply put, where two or more people (whether or NOT all of whom are believers in Christ isn't the essential point) have gathered together, in the name of Jesus Christ, seeking to both understand Him (Jesus Christ) better and also to learn one from another.  The small(ish) gathering Permits and allows for respectful "cross-talk".  Thus, the need to sit and warm a pew and listen (with no interaction, querying, clarifying etc. on the part of the listener) to the ramblings of a hell-fire and Brimstone preacher, does NOT seem to be there.  That is certainly not a desire or interest of mine.

Please do not misunderstand me, "no man is an Island unto himself" [John Donne, 1624], and although the comment is in no way Scripture, the essence rings true for anyone who calls (or wishes to call) him / her self a CHRISTIAN.  We need to gather together, and have Church, in order to grow in Christ.  And we need to do so regularly!  Where things 'go south' as it were, is when the definition of church moves away from simply the gathering of  people worshipping, glorifying, edifying the Name of Christ, to warming a pew in a cold, glass, steel and wooden building.

The early Christian Church oft times was little more than a handful of folk, gathering in someone's home, with the sole purpose of worshipping and learning about & from Jesus Christ and gleaning from one another's understandings.  Sure there have also been many occasions where thousands have been addressed, a couple of examples: Jesus Himself spoke to and fed the four thousand (Mark 8:9) and again Jesus Himself spoke to (preached / shared / taught) and fed the five thousand (John 6:10).  And the purpose of the Christian gathering(s) (Church) is for those in attendance to be afforded the opportunity to get to know the person of Jesus Christ!

I will finish this wee mini-sermon with the following true story from my early Christian walk.  Just barely a few months into my relationship with Christ, I found myself along with my new bride attending two churches; one on Sunday mornings, and the other on Sunday evenings.  Both churches were (probably still are) very well grounded in the rudimentary essential Tenets of the Christian Faith.  There were however, a few areas wherein one Churches stand or opinion of a few of the peripheral (NON-ESSENTIAL to being a Christian) ideas / concepts, differed from that of the other Church.  Although these issues were far from being essential tenets of the Christian Faith, each Church progressively began to apply pressure on us to "leave that other Church, because 'such N' such' teaching over there is not in keeping with what we teach here."  One Church, more so than the other, was quite vocal on the matter of our need to vacate.

In simple terms, we were asked, no TOLD, to leave, excommunicated if you will.

Now years ago, I would have gladly fed the names of BOTH Churches to any and ALL that would be willing to listen.  Now many years (gosh a whole lifetime - that was roughly 28 years ago) later, I have NO desire, nor interest, in NAMING either of those Churches.  Why would I not want to identify the Churches?  Simple, because each Church was then (and still is to this day, I suppose) lead by well meaning, God fearing / God (Christ) loving, albeit misguided Christian ministers.  The purpose in sharing the story is NOT to diminish or otherwise tarnish the image of a specific Church Institution, rather to illustrate the abhorrence I have for Organized Religion(s).  Two (2) people were directly affected by that "excommunication" of sorts, on that sad day, while many many others were indirectly impacted.  There was NO edifying or glorifying of Christ Jesus in that course of action over what, in the grand scheme of things, was a minor (non-essential) issue.

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