Christianity or “Churchianity”

Christianity or “Churchianity”

The following is from the web site “Seeking the Old Paths,” under the heading Churchianity.

Are You Involved in Christianity or Churchianity?

I see evidence many of my religious friends are overcome with a common malady, which I call “Churchianity.”

This malady is identified by certain symptoms. You can do a self-examination – just answer the following questions and draw your own conclusions.

Is your religious life centered around
“going to church”?

What of the time God has asked you to devote to instructing your children, to love Him and your neighbor, to help widows and orphans, to keep yourself unspotted from worldly sins, and to live a quiet and peaceable life? God never asked you to “go to church”! There is no place in the scripture where Christians were told to “go to church”, nor does Scripture mention an occasion where Christians assembled for the purpose of “worship”. Go ahead and search the Scripture – I hope you will – but the scripture is not there! Is that fact enlightening for you?

Is your time at church centered around
a man, a hired orator giving a lecture?

Would your concept of church be completely altered if the preacher was missing? The church existed for centuries without the modern concept of a preacher. The Apostle Paul did not lecture to the Christians assembled in Acts 20:7 – he dialogued with them. It was a talk, a discussion, not a lecture.1 Besides this Paul was an Apostle. If anyone had the right to lecture then it would have been Paul. However, he chose to teach using a conversation, a dialog, instead of a lecture. Jesus, The Master Teacher, taught using the format of a dialog instead of a lecture. In what is commonly called “the sermon on the mount”, He simply sat down on a rocky hillside and taught the people. The word ‘sermon’ does not appear in the Bible. Origen has been called “the father of the sermon” and he was not born until about 185 A.D. When we hear the word “sermon”, we conjure up a mental image of a man trained in the art of homiletics, standing behind a rostrum on a raised platform. This is not at all like the Bible image of Jesus and Paul teaching. There is some evidence that the people in our day have been “preached to death” instead of “taught how to live”. I call your attention to the fact that a Bible defined preacher (or ’evangelist’) announces the Good News to unbelievers. That message is not “news” to a Christian. One may teach a Christian but it is impossible to evangelize a Christian. Why is this so? Because a Christian already knows the “news”.

Is the hired orator (the preacher) at your assembly
doing all the edifying?

Are the majority present only in the capacity of observers? Have you ever wondered who edifies the edifier? Our time with assembled Christians should be involved with edifying, caring for each other, and “building up” each other as shown in Ephesians chapter 4. Is there a time in your assemblies when you share each others burdens and joys? If you are blessed with such an assembly then you are in the blessed minority. Read Eph.4 and compare the Scripture description of the assembly with your experience of “church”. Do you see disparity?

Must you rely on your preacher
for your church doctrines?

For instance, if you were to teach a Bible class would you consult your preacher, a commentary, the church doctrine, pre-printed literature, or would you reach for your Bible? The real question here is this: Is your faith in something attached to and built upon men or is your faith in the Power of God. If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you may be infected with (shudder) “Churchianity.” Be aware that it is Christ that saves – not Churchianity!
In Acts 20:7, the Greek word that appears in place of “preached” is dialegomai (dee-al-eg’-om-ahee). According to Strong”s, it means, “to say thoroughly, that is, discuss”. William E. Vine offers the following explanation, “to converse, dispute, discuss, discourse with” and “frequently, ‘to reason or dispute with.’” We get our word “dialogue” from dialegomai.

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