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Churchianity - What is Churchianity?

Updated on July 13, 2016
What is Churchianity?
What is Churchianity? | Source

Letter 1

Dear Grandpa,

Thank you for the great 4th of July weekend we spent with you and Grandma. I love when a holiday falls on a Monday and makes the weekend longer. Perhaps when I graduate next Spring, I can come for a really long visit!

I wrote this letter to you because I know how you love hand-written notes. I love getting letters in the mail, too, and would love to get a reply from you. Please put one of those Theodore Roosevelt stamps on your return letter!

I also wanted to write because I have some questions about you, that have been puzzling me. I meant to ask you several times while we visited, but I know it’s a touchy subject between Mom and Dad and you, so I never really had a chance.

I was wondering why you never go to church with us on Sundays, and why Mom and Dad never want to talk about it. I noticed this time, there was a lot of tension between you guys on Sunday morning. Maybe there has always been this tension and I just never noticed it, but I could feel it on Sunday.

I also know that Grandma only goes to church because we are visiting, and that she does not go any other time. I think she does this just to keep the peace.

This has always confused me, but now that I am older, it really confuses me because I know what a strong Christian you are. I see you reading the Bible every evening, and its edges are worn to bits. You say grace before dinner, and pray out loud whenever there is a crisis, so I know that it’s not because you are irreligious.

What is it then? Dad says you have an aversion to church, but whenever I ask him, he does not really talk about it. I know there is something wrong and that you guys disagree very deeply on something, but what is the explanation? I really want to know.

Thank you again for the great weekend!

Love,

Jack

P.S. Please remember the Roosevelt stamp! I don’t know where you got those, but they were awesome!

Dear Jack,

I was delighted to get your letter! I almost threw it away with the junk mail! You have seen the heap of advertisements, fliers, and bills I get every morning, so when I saw your handwriting, I was thrilled.

I am very happy you have the courage to ask me about my church-going habits. You are old enough now to have an opinion on these things. I think it is perhaps better that you wrote me a letter, so I can more clearly explain my beliefs and reasons for what I do - or don’t do.

Some of the stuff I’m going to say is quite controversial to your father, especially since he is a pastor. You yourself might even find it offensive, but I’m sure that truth is on my side. Sometimes the truth offends us, but our job isn’t to conform truth to our thinking, but to conform our thinking to the truth.

This subject is a little difficult for me to explain, not because I have a hard time talking - as you well know - but because the subject is so wrought with personal opinion. On the matter of “church-going”, I come from a very different position than most modern day Christians. So, I will do the best I can. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I have many reasons for why I don’t go to church.

The first reason I don’t go to church is because as Christians we don't have to. That may sound like heresy to you, and I’ve certainly gotten into many arguments with fellow Christians over the years who disagree, but nowhere in the New Testament does it command Christians to go to church!

In fact, did you know that in the Bible the word “church” does not mean a building? The word “church” is used over 150 times in the New Testament, and never once does it mean a building, it always means the collective group of believers. Church means the body of Christ:

Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12)

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. (Ephesians 4:15)

Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. (Colossians 1:18)

Consider if church did mean a building. Would these verses make sense?

When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, they sent Barnabas to Antioch. (Acts 11:22)

But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed very earnestly for him. (Acts 12:5)

First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. (1. Corinthians 11:18)

So Christians have changed the word “church” from meaning the body of believers to mean the building where those believers meet. Nowhere does the Bible ever command us to go to a church building. The very idea of church meaning a building is a man-made idea.

I bring this up because a lot of Christians get wide-eyed when I tell them I haven’t been to church in years, so many think it is impossible to be a good Christian without involvement in some sort of “church”.

What do you think, Jack? Would I be a better person than I am now if I were involved in some church?


Another reason your Grandma and I have given up going to church, is because most of what goes on in Christian churches these days isn’t Christianity, but what your Grandma and I call “churchianity”.

What is “churchianity”? I use the word to mean any practice, attitude, or belief that is man-made but commonly accepted by modern day Christians.

Churchianity includes things like:

The idea that some Christians are layman and some are clergy. This is a belief that is found nowhere in the New Testament. Nowhere in the Bible does God categorize Christians into common laymen with the ruling clergymen.

Some churchianity attitudes include believing that you can get Bible knowledge just from listening to a sermon on Sunday morning.

Some churchianity practices are things like giving a “tithe”. Did you know that the concept of the tithing is not found in the New Testament? Yet, this practice is so common in Christian churches, that to say that it is unnecessary, just might get you expelled as a heretic!

The list goes on, but this is what I mean by “churchianity”. I cannot stand many of the un-Biblical practices and beliefs held by Christians these days, and when I go to church, I find myself butting heads with practically everyone there. (Although I do believe some people there would agree with me, but are too afraid to say so!)

I don’t feel guilty for not going to a “church” and my relationship with God is stronger than it has ever been! I hope that you are not turned off by my words. Please do not shut down because you disagree. I will freely discuss everything you wish - as long as you are respectful. I look forward to our discussion in the coming letters.

With love,

Grandpa

P.S. Inclosed are the Theodore Roosevelt stamps. I’m glad you love them just as much as I do.

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    • Asa2141 profile image
      Author

      Asa Schneidermann 12 months ago from Boise

      Excellent! I'll look into it!

    • Dr CHE Sadaphal profile image

      CH Elijah Sadaphal 12 months ago from New York, NY

      If you really want to add more resources to your collection, consider What is the Church? by R. C. Sproul.

      I also prepared a teaching series on this last year. It's available in it's entirety here: http://what-christians-should-know.org/wcsk-episod...

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 12 months ago

      Thats ok you moved my heart with your hub .thanks for sharing!

    • Asa2141 profile image
      Author

      Asa Schneidermann 12 months ago from Boise

      Dr. Sandphal - Thank you for your very long and detailed comment with lots of Scripture too! I keep adding to my collection and comparing them. Thank you.

      Kiss and Tales - Thank you so much for the helpful comment. For some reason it was in my spam folder until I saw it there and posted it! Sorry for the 7 day delay!

    • Dr CHE Sadaphal profile image

      CH Elijah Sadaphal 12 months ago from New York, NY

      It is Biblically correct to state that the institution of the church saves no one. Christ is the one who saves the elect. Yet, at the same time, that does not mean the church is unimportant. Christ is the head and the church is a body. In order to have a fully functional organism, both must be present. Otherwise you have a head that can go nowhere and a body that lacks intelligent direction.

      I agree that we have to be very careful when allowing modern, Western culture to persuade faith. We also have to be very careful to practice exegesis and not eisegesis, and to allow the whole cannon of Scripture to inform us.

      "The first reason I don’t go to church is because as Christians we don't have to."

      Technically, you're right. There are many things in life (e.g. taxes) and the Bible (e.g. pray) that you don't *have* to do either but that choice won't be without consequences. The Bible never has a positive command that tells believers, "go to church." The problem is that when the NT gets into the communal functions of the church, like equipping people for works of ministry and performing sacraments, this can't be done when everyone is alone at home. The church is supposed to bring people together. As Ephesians 2:14 says, in Christ, “you who were formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barriers of the dividing wall.”

      The entire point of the church, then, is to continue the ministry of Jesus as God instructed His disciples in the Great Commission: “Go therefore and makes disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit”.[Matthew 28:19] God sent Jesus,[Luke 4:43; John 8:42] and now Jesus sends us.[John 17:18, 20:21]

      "did you know that in the Bible the word 'church' does not mean a building?"

      Indeed. The Greek word for church is ekklesia [For example, as used in Acts 20:28 and I Timothy 3:15] meaning a religious congregation or an assembly of members on earth or of saints in heaven or both. Accordingly, the church is not one physical structure fixed in time, but a timeless institution that transcends any physical location. You can have "church" in your basement, in a field, or on the banks of a river. All of the early churches in the New Testament were house churches.

      "The idea that some Christians are layman and some are clergy. This is a belief that is found nowhere in the New Testament. Nowhere in the Bible does God categorize Christians into common laymen with the ruling clergymen."

      I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 disagree with you. There are explicit and clear qualifications for church leadership. Not only that, but logic informs us that those who lead in the Church should have some form of training or else anyone could deem themselves worthy to lead and this risk of teaching false doctrine becomes apparent. Look at what Christ did: He selected 12 apostles who followed, learned from, and listened to Him for three years before being sent out into the world to spread the gospel. James 3:1 warns Christians that anyone who accepts the label of "clergy" and teachers the Bible opens the door to greater judgement. It's never a responsibility to be taken lightly.

      "Some churchianity attitudes include believing that you can get Bible knowledge just from listening to a sermon on Sunday morning."

      Well, you can (and should) get some Bible knowledge from the pulpit and if a preacher is fulfilling his Biblical responsibility, the purpose of a Sunday sermon is to preach Christ. Of course, this never absolves the individual from engaging in their own Bible study as it is written that we are to meditate on it day and night (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2). The fact is American Christians don't read the Bible: almost never. Studies by the Barna Group show the typical Christian adult reads their Bible 2-3 times a year (yes, a year).

      "Some churchianity practices are things like giving a “tithe”. Did you know that the concept of the tithing is not found in the New Testament?"

      Well the word "tithe" is found nowhere is the New Testament, but what do we have in II Corinthians 8:1-15 and Matthew 12:41-44 are descriptions of people giving above and beyond a tithe of 10%. On top of that, the apostle Paul refers to giving as a form of sacrifice, [Philippians 4:18] and thus a means of worship of God. There is no revelation in the NT that supplants the OT tithe. Truly, creation is not mentioned in the New Testament either but that does not mean the creation ordinances are null and void. Ultimately, if one subscribes to the idea that the Bible is God's revealed Word, then its relevance cannot be dismissed based on testament.

      I'll close by saying that as far as salvation is concerned, all one needs is Christ. But, to grow as a Christian and become mature in your walk with God, the Biblical model always points to the person in the context of a community (e.g, Abraham and his family, Israel, the community of Christians in Philippi). Even the verses chosen to highlight in your hub reveal a person or a group of people serving other people:

      Their responsibility is to equip *God’s people* to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12)

      When the church at Jerusalem heard what had happened, *they* sent Barnabas to Antioch. (Acts 11:22)

      But while Peter was in prison, *the church* prayed very earnestly for him. (Acts 12:5)

      First, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. (1. Corinthians 11:18)

      Biblically the church is designed to equip, nurture and develop Christians. If the church isn't doing that, then they are not following the Biblical model which says a church must do: (1) Teach sound Christian doctrine (Romans 5:17; I Peter 3:7; Colossians 4:6; II Timothy 2:1); (2) Administer the sacraments of baptism and communion; (3) “Look up” and worship God (Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:16-19); (4) "Look in” and nurture believers (Acts 11:29; II Corinthians 8:4; I John 3:17); (5) “Look out” and evangelize non-believers (Matthew 28:19, Luke 6:35-36, Luke 4:40, John 4:6, John 4:28-30, 39-42); (6) Strive for unity and purity in the things that it does (John 10:16, 17:21, 23; I Corinthians 1:2, 10, 13, 10:17, 12:12-26; Ephesians 4:3; Philippians 2:2; Colossians 1:28; Titus 1:9; I Timothy 2 and 3; Titus 1:11; Jude 3; I Corinthians 11:17-34; I Corinthians 5:6-7, 12-13).

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 12 months ago

      I really from my heart appreciate your Hub !

      Thank you for sharing I feel sure Jesus would be proud you expressed the truth so many feel and yet never say or do any thing about it.

      You would amazed to know I to have two of those stamps. I was looking at them the other day.

      I would like to say something in an encouraging way and that is if we really are following JESUS Closely we would see he

      agrees with you !

      Notice on his first announced validation he was the Son of the most high.

      Lu 4:21 Then he began to say to them: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.”

      Mt 21:12 Jesus entered the temple and threw out all those selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

      He remembered Jer 7:11! Has this house that bears my name become a cave of robbers in your eyes? Here I have seen it for myself,” declares Jehovah.

      Lu 19:46 saying to them: “It is written, ‘My house will be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a cave of robbers.”

      So many times the temple was not right.

      How about when the members was plotting to kill him

      Joh 11:53 So from that day on they conspired to kill him.

      He did not publicly appear but continue his traveling ministry.

      How did he do this not in a temple but from door to door and by the sea side.

      John 6:10 Joh 6:10 Jesus said: “Have the men sit down.” As there was a lot of grass in that place, the men sat down there, about 5,000 in number.

      Here Jesus fed them.

      The point is you have made a decision of courage and you still need more contact of Jesus as of today.

      You can by just using your bible of his purpose for you soon.

      Jworg is a good library to read and do bible research also videos of people who feel like you around the world .

      I surely hope you will look into it it's all free.

      Jesus gave free to thousands even fed thousands .he still is !

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