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Churchianity - What is Churchianity?
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!
P.S. Please remember the Roosevelt stamp! I don’t know where you got those, but they were awesome!
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.
P.S. Inclosed are the Theodore Roosevelt stamps. I’m glad you love them just as much as I do.