The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Isaiah 61:1
Whether it’s your local “VFW;” the “American Legion;” your favorite car manufacturer club; your local gym membership; the Rotary; the AARP; or your local church, once your join up for membership.…you become part of the club!
Once you join up for membership in a church, you are that church.
As human beings, something in us draws us to the things we join. Not too soon after we join those things, they seem to have a way of possessing us!
They become us and we become them! Take your local institutional church for example.
Without question, practically your whole identity is absorbed in this institution. You soon begin to boast, "I am Roman Catholic; I’m a Reformed Presbyterian; I’m Baptist; I’m Southern Baptist; I’m Evangelical; I’m Unitarian; I’m Trinitarian.” It’s endless!
And then, not too soon after that, it’s inevitable that you begin asking others, "What are you?" or, “Where do you go to church?”
Is this what Jesus envisioned when He said, “I will build My church?” Obviously not! In fact, you can search the New Testament through and through and find that Jesus said absolutely nothing whatsoever about starting churches, joining a church or even “going-to-church!” And yet, this is virtually the beginning, middle, and end of the "churchmanship's" indoctrination, indeed, all of Christendom’s creed!
Jesus said that we are in Him and He is in us, just as He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. “Abide in Me, and I in you.” “I am the vine, you are the branches.”
Is this how you know and experience Him at your local institutional church OR, are you joined to it (“your church”) rather than to Christ? Which is it?
You are in it and it is in you. Isn’t that right? You are one with it! Your desire is (and the admonition of your church rulers is) to bring others in union with “it” as well. This is what you are programmed to do.
My friend, you cannot serve God and mammon. Although this is in reference to money, the two go hand in hand. You are either in Christ or in the institution. You are either in Christ or in the harlot.
And to be quite honest, you know as well as I do that to truly belong to one of these local church institutions, you are required to believe what you are told to believe by those who rule within them. Many times, you often do not know what you believe yourself apart from the doctrines of your church.
One brother recounted, "While studying for the ministry, a fellow student began asking me questions about what I believed. I answered each one by telling him what the Baptists believe. I continued on for a while. Then the student smiled and asked, 'Don't YOU believe anything?'"
To boil it down and to put it as bluntly as possible, when someone joins their church, they are inevitably assigning their God-given freedom to run their life and manage their family over to someone else who they think is “more qualified.” My friends, this is absolutely moronic! Yet, it should not be too surprising given the fact that this is precisely the outcome and indeed the design of institutional churchmanship.
You are to follow and believe in Jesus alone! Your faith in God through Jesus Christ is how you are brought into the Kingdom. "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8. Believing what your church institution says to believe will not save you. Yet, many tend to think it does.
Institutions, regardless of their purpose, by their very nature, always end up fostering dependency. Again, it’s built in by design!
It should come as no surprise then when you see many church members, week after week, year after year, remaining dependent on "their leaders" to teach them, hear from God for them, do the work of evangelizing the lost for them, entertain them, and direct practically every single area of their lives.
This dependence on men is a natural byproduct of "churchmanship." Ironically, it's not just a byproduct... it's also the fuel that keeps it running. If it fails in this task, the system will crumble for lack of support. It needs you, an immature foster child, as much as they think they need it.
This is an entire church system and authority structure built, not upon Scripture, but upon other men’s ideas and fancy’s.
While many of these practices and beliefs systems can be easily disproved from Scripture with a minimal amount of study, most local institutional church members refuse to engage in such a study. And really, why should they anyway. That’s why many of them “joined up for church membership” in the first place – to let the so-called “pastor” do all of the work for them!
Not only that, even if they dared to study and ask questions, they are repeatedly bombarded with the notion that it is not right to question your pastor or elder, for in doing so, you are really questioning God!
Just like as a child should never question their parents, local institutional church members are taught to never question their church leaders. As one churchmanship proponent has said many times over the years in his sermons: “…..Along comes a church member with questions and disagreements in regards to your pastors/elders pronouncements. This church member, in his heart, does not embrace and obey the biblical mandate to obey them that have the rule over you! This wicked spirit is present in some of your hearts and you better see it for what it is. It’s an arrogant, proud spirit. Beware of the pride that will second guess YOUR elders. Which is worse - for elders to err in ignorance or for YOU to INFECT yourself and others with a spirit of insubordination and rebellion! WHICH IS WORSE!”
This is what’s being force-fed into church member’s hearts and minds. So, it really should come as no surprise whatsoever to see local institutional church members in a perpetual state of childhood, behaving and acting exactly as they were trained to do.
They need to be told what to believe and what not to believe; where to go or not to go. They need to be told how to act; who they are to associate with, and in many other cases, who to marry, how to dress, in addition to when and if they should ever separate from their spouse!
As a result, and understandably so, “liberty” and “freedom” are not very popular ideas within the churchmanship circle.
“..And that because of the false brethren privily brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage..” Gal. 2:4
“For freedom did Christ set us free: stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1
“For ye, brethren, were called for freedom.” Gal 5:13
“He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised.” Luke 4:18
“If therefore the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
Scriptures such as these (and many, many more) are not prominent in institutions like this, and quite frankly, are twisted beyond any recognition.
A “Berean” spirit-type attitude is only paid lip service in these places for it certainly is never fleshed out in practice!
And as a result, these “children” will never, ever grow! They stay forever in their baby-hood, exactly as the system has deliberately designed it to be!
For example, there are many "theological and church sects" today who will listen to and/or read nothing but their own "denominational persuasion." These folk will always refer to their confessions of faith or "their men"; hence these people seldom learn new perspectives.
They are locked in their own little “system” and are continually reaffirming their own "theological correctness."
To stray into a different area of thought is almost unthinkable for many of them. Yea, rather it is viewed as tantamount to heresy!
So there is the continued effort of always reading from the same material; always listening to the same men of your own persuasion; always singing from the same song book; always going to the same conferences where your “already pre-formed perspective” is sure to be presented. All of these efforts (requirements) will certainly fortify you in your belief system.
If their sermon, their article, or their book said it, then it’s good enough for them and therefore, “it has to be Truth!”
I say without intending offense that such practice differs very little from that of Jehovah's Witnesses or any other authoritarian/control groups.
"Churchmanship" may work fine for corporations, social clubs, and government entities in the world, but it has no place in His Body, the Ecclesia. The idea of “churchmanship” is not just an inconsequential, harmless inducement. It is an unbiblical teaching and practice that functions on an entirely wrong foundation. It exists as a division in the Body of Christ; with unbiblical fellowship; conducting invalid meetings; operating under fraudulent authority; with false leadership; resulting in a myriad of unbiblical practices and no such scheme will even know or recognize "the voice of the True Shepherd."
"Churchmanship" is a man-made, man-centered, and man-sustained deceptive concoction that must be resisted at any cost. It makes popes out of "church leaders" and "clapping seals" out of those who follow them.
Churchmanship? God forbid!
Instead, we are to, “Come out from among them, and be separate, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you, and will be to you a Father, and you shall be to me sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:17-18
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come forth, my people, out of her, that you have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4