Arise, O Ye Churchless Christians to the Rescue of Your Faith
The killing of over 80 parishioners at All Saints Church in Peshawar, Pakistan On 22 September 2013 for instance and the many of its kind in troubled parts of the world has become a regular Sunday tale, with no end in sight.
Religious Cold War have engulfed the world and is taking disturbing dimensions everyday. For these number of lives that were senselessly cut short in one attack and the possibility of worse incidences, I think its time for “Churchless Christians” to arise and rescue the Christian faith and its followers. The faith needs to be rescued from religiosity, doctrines, and creeds to the Movement with brain, which it once was. A time, when application of wisdom and common sense was fundamental. Enabling early followers to go underground when faced with danger; operate cautiously and preach the good news without the ‘we are better than you’ mentality.
Those who now hate Christianity to the extent of mercilessly killing its followers, do so for what it became after it was officially made a religion with doctrines and creeds. With all the built in expectations for full adherence by followers no matter how idiotic, counter productive, unprogressive or dangerous they may be. Attending Church services, a prerequisite for any Christian to be labelled a committed parishioner and an adherer of God’s orders lead to the loose of these number of lives. It has become obvious that those plotting to kill and inflict pains on Christians use Sunday gatherings to achieve their goal. Not succumbing to this form of terror possibilities is however, encouraged as it gives God a good reason to remain faithful in protecting believers from their enemies.
For this reason, many parishioners in the most dangerous parts of the world are stuck with attending Church services even when God can forgive absence as opposed to worshipping, just to get killed. When an incidence like this happens, the Christian God is mocked. He is described as weak and incapable of protecting His own, even when that is not the case. In a country like Pakistan, to kill that number of Christians in one attack is difficult outside the Church and if not for religiosity with the burden of doctrine, wisdom would have suggested otherwise to ensure the safety of worshippers.
The Christian faith was not even born a religion, but a movement, meant to provide equal access to God for Jews and Gentiles alike. It was never intended as a superior means to God, which over the years has become its core view. For the religion it turned into, the resultant superiority mentality, and the approach it adopted in relating with others, the door to unwarranted dangers and avoidable ridicule was widely opened. So, it is right to state that the doctrine of “Forsake not the gathering of believers”, which have bred “Churchgoers Christians” is why these kind of avoidable deaths occur.
Unfortunately, many have failed to realize that the guide to practicing Christianity is not the exclusive right of anyone to dictate, not even the Church. It is supposed to be an open platform to God. A major reason why it started with the intent to end ascribing the way to God to the belief, laws and practice of a chosen tribe. Thus, humanity no matter who they are were granted the chance to develop personal relationships with God. A relationship, which is not guided by laws, but by conscience. No wonder in 1 John 3:21, believers were assured of having confidence before God if their conscience does not make them feel guilty for any choice or action. So, if being part of a Sunday service especially in the face of danger was not compulsory, those who were killed in the attack would have still been alive today. Human beings are said to be inherently selfish and with knowledge of the possibility of danger at such gatherings, many will choose to abstain with no guilt just to stay alive.
But, at some point, the style of worship based on ones conscience was destroyed and replaced by a State or organized religion with attached caveats for one to be part of it. For many years now, this have been the Christianity presently known to believers and unbelievers alike. The good news however, is that the “Underground Church” as described by Robin Meyers is gradually, but steadily emerging from its ruins. Increasingly people who turned their back on Christianity because of the mess in the Church and its draconian styled doctrines and creeds are having a rethink.
They are reclaiming, proclaiming and living out the true nature of Christianity. To them, Church affiliation or attendance matters less, when compared to spirituality. Evaluation of what is good or bad is based on how it affects oneself and the people around, not because a pastor or priest said so. This movement was started by Christ, carried on by his disciples and those who heard the good news from them. These current reclaimers, proclaimers, and doers of true Christianity are the ones I call Churchless Christians. They are motivated and guided by the teachings and human nature of Christ, with accommodating, tolerating and ascribing no spiritual superiority to self as watchwords.
So, since the movement is on the rise, and giving the current condition of the faith and the unnecessary travails of many Christians, it has become expedient for Churchless Christians of which I am one to speak out. Let us not reclaim true Christianity only on the personal level. It needs to be proclaimed as well “on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere”. It is now or never. This is because the more the silence, the more these senseless killings and hatred for Christians will continue. We cannot allow the innocent to keep on dying in obedience to useless Church doctrines and the ignorant continue killing, since many who do so, does not even know the truth about the Christian faith. If at anytime in history, the need for true Christians to organize, evangelize, and reach out to people on the other side of religious aisle has arisen, this is the most important time. We should not be intimidated by the size of the Church and the stretch of Churchgoer Christians.
Rather, we should arise and declare again the truth about the teachings of one of the greatest teacher the world have known no matter how heretical such effort may appear. This is not a call to surrender, because competition or war is not even necessary in matter of Faith. Rather it is a call to put things right; to present and live out the truth of Christian faith for the world to see. Who knows what the outcome could be? May be a better understanding and relationship that leads to less or no religiously motivated killings like the one that happened on September 22, 2013.
In these parts of the world were Christians are endangered spices, there are other religious groups that coexist with the dominant religion. Since Christianity has over the years used every means to challenge the authenticity of other faiths, even eliminating or suppressing them when it is possible, they now see it as an enemy. For the future we all desire, this is the time for change with emphasis on coexistence and appreciation of other beliefs and choice of lifestyles. Resisting the tendency to push down the principles of our faith on others since the custodianship of truth is not even definite. Just like the bible and preachers present Christianity as the right channel to God and godliness, so does other religious texts and teachers assure their followers.
The trust I have in the Church is gone, so I doubt if its old time religion can save Christians from this modern day mess they have found themselves in. To a very great extent, all these may be a backlash to the greatest take over of good by evil that the world may have experienced. As a result, I believe that the only time Christians can enjoy the peace Christ promised them is when the new Christian movement takes its place and Churchless Christians, arise to undo the wrongs, which were done in the name of the faith. Through such effort, one can hope the others will truly understand Christianity and admire Christians instead of killing them.