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Why I don't go to Church Anymore · The Free Believers Network
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Aug 25, 2008

Why I don't go to Church Anymore


by Darin Hufford

 

My wife and I made a decision about eight years ago that we were going to stop attending the "Institutional church". We did not come to this conclusion through bitterness caused by church, we simply made a decision based on things that we had seen and personally felt for years but were (until that time) unwilling to admit. When I say "church" I am not talking about the Church Universal. I'm talking about the modern day concept of church that we know today. I'm talking about the "institutional" church. 

For the most part I think "institutional church" is nothing more than a business. In fact, many leaders of churches openly admit that. I have a difficult time believing that what we practice and call "church" today is at all what Christ had in mind. It's become nothing more than a weekly play. Worse than that; it's become a rerun of a play. And yet even worse, it's become a rerun of a play, lead by hijackers.

Someone somewhere along the line got the idea of putting on a "play" for people once a week and calling it "church." Spectators sit quietly in their pews looking over their hand-bill and waiting for the performance to begin. Each week they start with colorful music and someone leads them in four or five songs. Then the spectators sit down and wait for the announcements. Once that's finished, they're encouraged to give money to the "playhouse". Then the spectators sit quietly and listen to a guy who doesn't even know them recite a forty minute monologue about what God is supposedly saying. When he finishes, all the spectators file out the door, pick up their children and head for home. On the way home they discuss the play. How the worship team did, whether or not the music was to loud or not nearly loud enough, how the Pastor preached and so on. Seven days later, they return to the same playhouse and experience it all over again.

I call it a "rerun" of a play because if you've been to any church for three years or more, that's exactly what it is. They've basically quit filming new episodes, and are now content playing reruns of old episodes. It's the same thing every week. Perhaps this is why Christ's ministry lasted only three and a half years. That's about how long it takes to deliver the full gospel message if you preach an hour a week. After that, He would only be repeating Himself. Other than a new song here and there, everything else is pretty much the same. The Pastor reminds you that "Christ took the nails for you", and you need not to sin, and you need to read your Bible and pray, and (most importantly) you need to come to church every week and put money in the offering, and then it's over. Week in and week out, it's the same thing.

I'm not blaming the Pastors of America for this. I honestly don't think it's their fault for not preaching something "new" every week. Truthfully, I don't think they could even if they wanted to. I do however; blame them for making people feel like they have to continue coming week after week or else God will be disappointed in them. This is where the "business" of the playhouse comes in. People are encouraged to keep coming back because the organization needs their money. If people ever felt like they could graduate from the playhouse, and live their lives in the world with what they know, it would be a devastating blow that eventually would destroy the institution. It is this way because "church" as you and I know it today has been built on the belief that "once you're IN, you're NEVER allowed to leave". There is no such thing as graduation or moving on. We are taught that we must attend every week for the rest of our lives regardless of whether we know the Gospel or not.

If you think rationally about it; it's a ridiculous notion to think that anyone benefits much from sitting through a re-cap of something they already know week after week. It's even more ridiculous to believe that people "need" to be there every week in order to grow spiritually. My personal opinion is that it's just not worth going after a certain amount of time. Most people would argue that we need to go because we need the fellowship. The problem with this argument is that "church" is not even set up for fellowship. You come alone, you sit alone, you worship alone, you listen to the sermon alone and you leave alone. Real fellowship happens at Starbucks with a friend or in your home over dinner with people you love. Yes the Bible does say, "Do not forsake the gathering together" but that's a far cry from "Do not forsake going to a building and singing songs that were selected by someone else and sitting quietly with your hands folded while a guy talks for forty minutes about a bunch of stuff you've either already heard or you already knew". That's not church; that's tradition.

All in all I think the institutional church is great for people who don't have any Christian friends. It's a great place to meet other believers. If you DO have Christian friends however, why would you continue to go? My belief is that we ARE the church. When people ask me where I go to church, it's like asking me where I go to Darin. I AM the church. Wherever I go, church is there because I am there. I am outreach, wherever I go there is an outreach because I am there. I think the problem with the way the modern day church is set up is that people "GO TO IT". It shouldn't be a place we go. Church should be something we become.

I say that the modern day church is a "rerun of a play" that is lead by "hijackers" because I feel that the modern day church has hijacked everything that flows naturally from people who know and love God. They have institutionalized "heart things" and forced them into a heartless and ritualistic set of traditions.

The problem with the Institution of Church as we know it today is that it almost always seeks to "take over" or "hijack" every living expression that results from authentic relationship. Then it tries to purchase a spiritual Patent on each individual experience and dictate when and where it will manifest again. Over time we find that everything that would naturally flow from relationship with God is no longer allowed to flow naturally. It must now flow under the orders and instruction of those who run the Institution.

Beautiful things such as communion have now become cold and institutionalized. After all "church" now owns the Patent on communion. It was originally created so that people who love each other could have dinner together and in the midst of that time of fellowship, they would stop and remember Christ and what He accomplished on their behalf. They would acknowledge their present freedom and give praise to the One who brought it to them. Today, however, communion has been reduced to anything BUT communion. We now sit in neat little rows, and are handed a shot glass of grape juice and a tiny cracker. We partake of it like robot-clones on a massive assembly line. There is no fellowship, no eating together, no enjoying the company of the person next to you, no interactive conversation about the work of Christ, and no freedom. You see-dinner with friends and discussions about Christ are things that naturally flow from a person who knows Christ and has freedom. The institution has hijacked that natural thing and taken away its life.

Another intimate thing that has been hijacked by the institution is Worship. Did you know that everywhere in the New Testament where worship is mentioned, it's described as something that transpires between the individual and God alone? New Testament worship is an act of intimacy between a person and their God. Today it has been hijacked by the machine. Today, worship begins at 7:00pm and ends at precisely 7:30pm on Sunday nights. We're told what to sing, how to sing it, when to raise our hands to God, when to clap our hands, when to stand up and when to sit down. It begins when they tell us it begins and it ends when they decide it ends. The very life and beauty of worship has been strangled to death.  

Giving is one of the most beautiful and natural manifestations of a person filled with the love of God. Unfortunately the institution has hijacked that as well. In fact, I believe giving has been hijacked and murdered in todays church world. A "giver" by today's Christian standards is a person who gives to the institution. Almost all teachings on giving today are in reference to giving to the church. Even the very essence of giving has been turned upside down. The New Testament teaches "freely you have received, now freely give" and the institution has turned it around and convinced an entire generation that "If you freely give, you will freely receive".

I personally believe that the day the teaching of "Seed Faith Giving" was introduced to the Christian world, "true giving" was murdered! "Giving" went from being something a person did out of love for another, to being something we are taught to do in order to get a return on our investment. We are even told how much to give, where to give and when to give it. The spontaneity of giving from a heart of love has been quenched and beaten into an exact mold to fit the institutions purposes. I have said many times that the world is unaffected by the giving of the church, because the church doesn't give to the world, it gives to itself. The church stiffs the world.

Today's church members cannot even have relationships unless they were formed and directed by the institution. People are told where to go to "cell group", who to open up to, what to do at the meeting and how to do it. Nothing is allowed to happen on its own.  Gone are the days where each person chooses their own friends based on who they "click" with and who they don't. Today, friendship is determined, dictated and ordered by the leadership. If you live near 5th street and Main, and the Jones family live close to your area; they become your "home fellowship" group. You must open up to them and have relationship with them. Every Thursday evening at 6:00 sharp-relationship begins and at approximately 7:45 it ends. Open up your heart of hearts to the Jones's. Keep nothing hidden! This is your home group that you must connect with under heaven. You're encouraged to NOT have friends outside of the church.  

If you look closely all throughout the church world you'll find that almost every single area of a person's life is "taken over" by this controling force we call church. Even things like "hearing from God" have been taken away. People are taught that the way they hear from God is "through the pastor" or "through others in the institution". Sadly, even the most personal and beautiful things of all are stripped away. The beauty and honor of being responsible for your children's understanding of God's heart, is taken away from you. Now the institution makes no bones about the fact that they believe it's their responsibility to teach your children about God. If you don't bring your kids to their classes, you're failing as a parent. How has this happened? In the beginning, the institution of church served the people. Today it has been reversed. The people are taunted and manipulated into serving the institution. A faithful Christian by today's standards is someone who serves the church wholeheartedly. It's a person who gives without measure to the church. Someone who is committed to showing up on time week after week. A faithful Christian in today's church world is a person who is raising their children to serve and protect the institution of church. 

I do believe it's time for people to take a stand and yell "FREEDOM"!!!!! We need to take back what was stolen from us. I am becoming more and more convinced that the "woman who rides the beast" (In Revelation 17) and drinks a cup filled with the blood of the saints; IS THE INSTITUTION OF CHURCH.

If you would like to read more on this I would suggest that you read the article just above this one entitled, "The Church that Christ Built."

 


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Comments

  1. Gravatar
    Sue

    Thank you, thank you. It's exciting when I find someone that has the same thoughts I've had for the past few months. I belonged to a mega church, when I asked one of the ministers (we had 10) if I could start a ministry to help the people outside the ''church'' walls, the ones who were struggling financially, we could clean their homes, work in their yards, run errands, ect., I was told they wanted to make sure the in-house ministries were covered first, this was our Missions minister. Shortly after that I left the ''church'' and have been outside for almost 2 years. In IC we become Christian sponges: we sit, soak and sour. Sponges are supposed to be used, not just set around. I'm so thankful Father called me out of IC, I'm having the time of my life. I pray that my friends will join me.

  2. Gravatar
    Sue

    I'm sorry I was trying to rate this post a 5 star, but somehow rated it a 3.

  3. Gravatar
    Eric Coleman

    really good article. Thanks

  4. Gravatar
    David Fredrickson

    Great post - thanks for summarizing the whole institutional "church" scene accurately and descriptively. Love your comments about worship. So many of the people we walk with who've left the IC don't miss anything about it except the "worship." As for myself, even though I was a pastor for many years and thought the worship was the most important part of the service ( because it prepared the people for my super important sermon!), I always wondered why I experienced the most meaningful worship when I was alone.

  5. Gravatar
    Bobbyb323

    There's a lot there. I still go to the IC but I go with a renewed sense of freedom. IT has a coffee house atmosphere. I hang around drink coffee, pray some and maybe go to service. I admit I do love the music. I limit my involvement in the machine parts of it.

  6. Gravatar
    Queen Ester

    I understand and identify with your comments on worship,it was only when I practiced setting aside frequent alone times with God, that I got the most sublime glimpses of His beauty and grace.

  7. Gravatar
    Feisch

    Thanks for sharing. Although the church I attend doesn't have 'forced' association w members outside of services by way of other scheduled studies or activities (we are encouraged though to love one another & although we'll only ever 'click' with a few, to strive to have phileo love for all brethren, & ultimately God's agape love for all people), and after 10yrs I'm still hearing new sermons, we still have the 'once ur in, ur in' attitude. It's terrible! Our Org teaches that God's true church is His body of believers, those that keep His word, scattered all over the world, in various denominations. Yet, when a member attends less often, perhaps to 'rest' on the Sabbath, there's a feeling of 'loss' or lowered respect for that individual. It's like ur not a genuine Christian unless ur there.

  8. Gravatar
    David

    I read your article Darin and my heart just felt sick. Sick, because I have been feeling and thinking along the same lines that your shared. I have been involved in ministry in institutional churches for over 20 years now. I was a missionary overseas, graduated with a bible degree, led youth, evangelism and drama ministries. I also led worship and preached. But now I am sick. I can't fight that gnawing feeling in the pit of my soul when I witness how contrived this thing is that we have made "church" to be. I don't know what to do about it. Anytime I say anthing in my institutional church that challenges them out of their conformity I get angry defensive responses. Thanks for the article. I thought I was alone in my feelings and thoughts on this.

  9. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I understand how you feel David. If you ever want to talk personally just email me. darinhufford@cox.net

  10. Gravatar
    Konti

    As usual this article is great. But I wanted a clarification from you Darin about what you said: My belief is that you ARE the church. When people ask me where I go to church, it's like asking me where I go to Darin. I AM the church. Wherever I go, church is there because I am there. I am outreach, wherever I go there is an outreach because I am there. I think the problem with the modern day church is that people "GO TO IT". It shouldn't be a place we go. Church should be something we become. While I know and completely agre with you that the church is not a place to go, I struggle with the idea that I am the church. I cannot see myself as the church, because I'm nothing but a member of the church, the member of the body. Can the hand say:"I am the body"? or the eye: "I am the body"?

  11. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Konti - my answer to your question is YES. If I plunged a nail in your eye, people wouldn't say I attacked an eye; they would say I attacked Konti. What is done to Konti's eye is done to Konti. the same is true with the body. Though we are all just a part of the body, we are also the body. If your hand touched something in a crime scene and a detective later found your finger prints, they wouldn't say "We know that Konti's hand was in this room." The would say "Konti was here and we have proof of it."

  12. Gravatar
    Kont Leci

    Thank you Darin, I see your point. But saying I am part of the body, doesn't mean the rest of the body will not hurt if the hand or the eye hurts. I was just thinking that saying I am the church means I don't need brothers and sisters. Thank you again for your response.

  13. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    We totally need the rest of the church. The very essence of this faith is love for one another, especially those in the body. Without them, love is not possible. It's like trying to be a loving person on Mars, it's impossible because there is no one to love. The body is a must.

  14. Gravatar
    Richard

    Yea to live any other way as a christian is insanity.As a matter a fact thats' what happen to me.2001 was a lost year for me courtesy of anxiety,depression,and suicidal ideation.A broken relationship set things in motion but after 24 years of dedicated service to God "in the box"it should have never happened but it did.I don't have a history of any kind of mental illness and all of a sudden I do now.As horrible as that year was I knew on Nov.1,2001 that church would never be the same for me.As a result of this experience with depression I have hooked up with a volunteer group that goes to high schools,colleges,and even churches to try and educate people on depression and suicide.In short self-righteousness led to a 12 gauge in the mouth.When people ask me where I go to church.I go to Jesus

  15. Gravatar
    andrew price

    why don't people go to small churches where you can have more influence, get involved and really use your gift?

  16. Gravatar
    Aida

    Andrew, I just found your comment and I thought it was interesting. I've found that small churches are just as controlling as mega churches and sometimes even more so. I've also found that they don't tend to be as friendly since they're often more inward focused and newcomers aren't always welcomed. Of course, there may be exceptions but I don't think there's any real advantage in going to a small church. The problem is with the system, not with the size of the church.

  17. Gravatar
    Roger Sharp

    I came across this website today (Friday) as a result of researching a question I had about "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young. My question is this: "If the Institutional Church (IC) is the wrong version of what Christ died for, then what is the 'correct' version? Or, if there is no 'correct' version, then what are the outworkings of a non-IC? In other words, if we aren't supposed to go the IC, then what are we supposed to do according to the 'Free Believers?' Also, why should I entrust your interpretatoin of theology verse an IC theologian or pastor? Why do you have the correct understanding? If the IC is truly 'the woman riding on the beast' then your theology better be 100% correct. If not, are you open to correction? Are you humble enough that your hermeneutics could be wrong?

  18. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Christ died for you and me (people), NOT the IC. We are the Church. He didn't die for the "system" of church. What we have today isn't described anywhere in scriptire. The Free Believers Network doesn't tell people not to go to the IC. Many Free Believers here do go. They just don't rely on it or consider it to be the same as "God". In terms of why you should trust my interpretation; you shouldn't! you should already know the truth in your heart. "You don't need anyone to teach you!" Remember, the pastors and theologians in Jesus' day didn't even recognize him. When I talk about the IC, I am talking about the man made government that controls the IC. It's not the IC itself that I refer to as "The woman...." It's the INSTITUTION I am refering to.

  19. Gravatar
    Roger Sharp

    Darin: "In terms of why you should trust my interpretation; you shouldn't! you should already know the truth in your heart." Roger: My heart tells me differently. So, again, who has the correct understanding and why? Scripture tells us 'the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jer.17:9).' Whose heart is correct and why? Darin: "You don't need anyone to teach you!" Remember, the pastors and theologians in Jesus' day didn't even recognize him." Roger: Luke, Matthew, Paul, etc. were learned men. They teach me even today just as my Professors and Sunday School Teachers do. The Pharisees of Jesus' day are not equivalent to the theologians and pastors in my life. Maybe you have had isolated bad experiences in your spiritual journey. Mine does resemble yours.

  20. Gravatar
    Roger Sharp

    *Mine does NOT resemble yours. Sorry about the typo.

  21. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    Darrin, I agree with you that the institution of the church has problems. I agree with you that the people of the church can cause hurt in others' lives. In fact, I would wonder if there is a person in the church today who has not had a problem with another person in the body of Christ (or been hurt by them to various degrees). My problem is that though you are upset with something you call "the institution," ultimately the institution is itself made up of people from the body of Christ. So what exactly are you calling "institution"? The body of Christ? Or only the part of the body of Christ that goes to an organized church with a building? See, you would have to somehow demonstrate that all members of the institution are not real believers in God to support your theory. More...

  22. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    If you are condemning the whole of the organized church then you must realize exactly who you are condemning here; people such as Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Saint Nicholas of Myra (the model for Santa Claus), and the apostle Paul (who helped organize churches). The condemnation here also applies many other people who have devoted their entire lives to the study of the Lord Jesus Christ.

  23. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    Finally, there is an implication here that is untrue: the body of Christ originally did not have structure or organization. The Scriptures tell us otherwise, especially those of the apostle Paul. There are specific people mentioned as leaders of churches or groups of people ("apostle to the Jews," "apostle to the Gentiles" Galatians 2). There is organization mentioned in Eph. 4:11; apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These people are to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Also, there are overseers and deacons specifically mentioned in 1 Timothy 3. More...

  24. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    Plus, we see already Paul discussing the position given to Timothy as evangelist after the laying on of hands by the council of elders (1 Timothy 4:14). There is enough evidence in the New Testament to show the early believers were already organized. Worship: The model for worship in the modern church comes from Isaiah 6 in the verses describing Isaiah's call from the Lord. In Isaiah's vision angels are praising God in the temple, Isaiah confesses his sinfulness in this place, God asks Isaiah "Whom shall I send?", and then tells Isaiah what to proclaim. In the New Testament, Paul reasons from the Scriptures in the synagogues as well as in the gathering places (Acts 17). For further info on worship, please look at Nehemiah 8 and 9. The people worshiped in unity and were greatly blessed.

  25. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    Thank you for the space to comment. I do not agree with the condemnation of the organized church, but I certainly agree with the sharing of opinions. I hope my comments have been useful and encourage dialogue. Thank you again, MJ

  26. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Roger- Read on after that verse in Jerimiah. God's says that the time will come when He will give us a NEW heart. That time is NOW. That's the difference between Old Testament and New Testament. Also the comment about not needing a teacher was not a Darin Hufford quote. It came from 1 John 2:27"....the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit....."

  27. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Mary's 1st post - First off I never talked about people in the Church that causing pain. I think you're assuming that's what inspired this. If so, you're wrong. Secondly I already told Roger what I refer to when I use the word "Institution." It's not the people. It's the "system" that the people created. The "system" has nothing to do with the "body of Christ." It's not HUMAN. The system is a governmental system; not a person or group of people.

  28. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Mary's 2nd post - The institution of church once again is not a person. people such as Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Saint Nicholas of Myra, and the apostle Paul are PEOPLE. They are not an institution. Also, the church system we have today was NOT organized by Paul. It was set in place 300 years after Paul by the leader of Rome. Constantine set it up to run like the Roman government. In Pauls day, the people met in homes and shared meals as friends. They didn't sit quietly while one guy talked. They all spoke up. What Paul did organize was done away with long long ago.

  29. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Mary's 3rd post - I don't think you read the article that was suggested reading at the end of this article. The problem with today's thinking is that when we see the word "Pastor" today, we immediately interpret it based on our modern day experience of what we know a "pastor" is. We do the same with "evangelist" and "apostle." If you study what those titles actually entailed in the early church, you will find that they didn't resemble our modern day definition in the slightest way. Also, contrary to what you may have picked up; there is NO implication that the body of Christ didn't have structure in the NT. The article specifically mentions the things that DID NOT have structure in the NT church, but have been taken over by structure today. BIG difference!!!

  30. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Mary's 4th post - Worship changed from Old Testament to New Testament. The people in OT times had to do it a certian way. In NT times however, everything is personal. This is why Paul says "sing and make music IN YOUR HEARTS." I would suggest you read my 2 Blogs on worship if you want to get an idea of what I'm saying. They are in the "blog" section (you might have to scroll through some pages): "Going for the Worship" and "What is Worship."

  31. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Mary's 5th post - Thanks for the dialogue Mary! I know that what you read on this site might sound like heresy to you. I assure you that it's not. The things spoken here are carefully thought out and they are written by someone who wasn't just an average laymen. I was a pastor in a church of 15 thousand. I've also spoken (and still speak) to hundreds of churches throughout the world. I tell you that only to show you that I'm not just an upset laymen who was treated badly and is now spouting off out of pain and hurt. If you really read what I'm saying and don't try to read between the lines, I think you'll find that I'm right. The problem is that you've been trained to read between the lines and in doing so you will almost never hear what is actually being said. "He Who Has Ears To Hear" :)

  32. Gravatar
    Aida

    Roger, I hope you don't mind me butting in here but I want to share some of my thoughts. I agree with Darin that everyone needs to follow their heart which now is the home of the Holy Spirit and is a reliable source of guidance. I agree with what he has written in this article and I am a free believer who still attends on Sunday morning. Although I agree with Darin's teachings, I don't feel the need at this point in my life to leave the institution, I just don't depend on it for my spiritual life. I trust the Holy Spirit in me to guide me. As Darin said, many free believers have chosen to remain in the system. I even know of one who after many years out felt it was time to go back in as a free believer. This message has restored to us the freedom to follow God as he leads.

  33. Gravatar
    Kevin Fifield

    Darin, Thank you for writing this. I left my pastoral position and paycheck when I left the institution over 2 1/2 years ago. Now what? What do I do now when most of my so-called friends from the institution no longer know how to relate to me, or I to them for that matter? How do I answer the ones who will still talk with me when they ask, "When are you going to find a church?" How do I answer myself whe I ask the very same question? I didn't leave because I was angry. I left because I felt that the Spirit of what Jesus spoke about was being left behind for prophetic crazes, the newest revelation, the doctrine of a man, and seeing a town die all around me. Cell groups didn't help. The 3 hour Sunday morning repeat-a-thon didn't help. So again, now what?

  34. Gravatar
    Phil Smith

    I have pastored for twenty-eight years and I have been greatly disappointed with the denomination that I served. But I have more recently become aware of their helpless state it is in. They appear to be captive to tradition and its self-perpetuation. I can't count the number of plans and programs they had to increase membership and thereby preserve itself. How sad. It has always haunted me that there must be a better way to worship, because God has broken through in the midst an unstructured moment and we have experienced genuine fellowship. Then I would try to structure that experience into my services. It obviously didn't work. It never occurred to me that the institution was the problem. I was always trying to repair it. Now I must get out. It's as hard as giving up any habit.

  35. Gravatar
    Dennis Jeffery

    I agree the institutional church in America needs revival. I also agree that Christianity isn't about productions / consumerism / being spectators. But let's be careful we don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Gathering at Starbucks with a few hand picked friends can be just as lacking in true obedience to Christ as gathering in a building. In a building, for instance, you have an opportunity to interact with folks you wouldn't choose as friends elsewhere - which is part of true agape. Missions, church planting, compassionate service, discipleship of children, and, yes, sacrificial giving are all part of full obedience to Christ. Frankly my observation of people I know who drop out of "regular" church is that they leave all these important mission activities undone.

  36. Gravatar
    Roger Sharp

    Aida - Thanks for your comments. I do not mind you entering the conversation. It's a public blog :) I guess I must take issue on two things: 1) Holy Spirit guiding believer's hearts, 2) Free Believers still in IC. 1) If the same HS who is in me is in Darin, then we are being told different things about the IC. 2) Darin has repeatedly railed against the IC (calling it the 'woman who rides upon the beast,' 'worship that is a lie,' to name a few from the blog threads I have read. I don't know much about Darin other than what I read, but the 'about' section of free believers does not line up with the blog threads. Those free believers who are still in the IC would have a tough time convincing me they can stay in the IC considering the language of the blog threads.

  37. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Dennis, I prefer to allow the Holy Spirit to bring those he wants me to meet and spend time with. Jesus said he will build his church. I don't think we have to worry whether or not we are missing a meeting with someone. Also, statistics show that people who leave actually do better. My guess is that you say that's your observation but you really haven't observed from close up. usually when people leave, their church friends leave them and tell others that they have fallen away and no longer practice the things they should. Read the book "Revolution" to see the real studies done on people who leave.

  38. Gravatar
    David Zweigle

    I understand the church impression you have. I too rebelled many years ago against the organized church. I found hope in the scriptures as I continued my jouney.The Holy Spirit living in me revealed organized religion but also uncovered a Spirit filled body of believers. They are rare, and anything good requires personal commitment. Government whether in the church, home or civil is messy, why? because it's comprised of broken humanity. Remove or redefine God and you remove joy, peace, love and compassion. With every church I attended I discovered the core of that body, God was at work. My advice to you, don't critizise, encourage others.God will not and cannot fit your idealogy but be assured the core of believers praying, believing, living Gods word is alive

  39. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks for the comment David. I'll have to respectfully disagree with the advise to not criticize. Jesus routinely criticized the oppressive system of his day because it damaged people. That is exactly the spirit from which I write. People are hurt by these things. To sit and not say anything about it would be unloving. Remember john the Baptist literally screaming at the church leaders of his time? This article is NOT in any way about church "people." It's about the government of our meetings. It's also not about what I expect from God or what my ideology of Him is either. I know Him well. No problem there. This article also doesn't say that I don't think there is a true body of believers, nor does it imply that question whether or not God is at work in people. All of this I see and know.

  40. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Roger, If you don't believe that the Holy Spirit guides believers I can't help you with that one. You seem to be unable to seperate the government of church from the body of Christ, or from God for that matter. You are clearly upset and trying with all your might to defend the "system." My question to you is WHY? Why does this upset you so much? Why do you hold this system so dear to your heart? You seem to be in love with it and you certianly put a lot of faith in it. Honestly, if you don't believe what I'm telling you, move on. You and your wife are into scripture. Why don't you show me where I'm wrong scripturally. Show me a New Testament verse that goes against my words here. The "Woman/beast" comment was an opinion and stated as one. Why do you care though?

  41. Gravatar
    David Zweigle

    This is good discussion. Jesus was able to identify the coruption within the church because He was God. You are not. You are making general judgements on the entire church body. Again you cannot define what worshipping God looks like from Gods perspective because you are not God. Interpeting Gods word to look like you think it should is dangerous. If you respect that each of us has a very personal relationship with God, the Holy Spirit our guide, than you should not sit in judgement of our desire to serve Him no matter if we are imprisoned or sitting in a Sunday school class. Give God the benefit, that He can use even human messiness for His good work.

  42. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    How sad that you think only Jesus can identify the coruption in the church. Remember that the Spirit of God lives inside of us, so we have the same power as Jesus had. What is having the mind of Christ all about if not seeing the world through his perspective. Once again here it is....you are accusing me of things I never said. I NEVER ONCE made a judgment on "the Body." I made judgments on the institution. For some reason too are unable to see the difference which is quite sad. It's also sad that you think we humans canot see things from God's perspective. Finally, WHERE in the world did I sit in judgment on people's desire to serve him. I'm left wondering what article you read. Certianly not this one. Everything you accuse me of is not even there.

  43. Gravatar
    David Zweigle

    Darin, I respect your opinions and my intentions are not to wrongly accuse you but please don't condiscend since my perspective might be a bit broader. Consider this,I agree the church is a form of government, a corruptable institution, but do you believe God is helpless and cannot reach the lost in spite of coruption,greed etc. We are on a battleground for the lost. There is no instituion which can overcome the believer who is powered by the Holy Spirit. Believe me God has a purpose in spite of the "institution". I take issue, not that I disagree with your analysis of the church, but to generalize the "entire" instituion as bad and Godless and thereby we should just quit going to church. No my friend, we should put on the armour, believe God works in the pew or at Starbucks.No boundaries.

  44. Gravatar
    Dariin Hufford

    David, know that I never said or even suggested that because of what I see in the Institution, God is helpless and cannot reach the lost. I think that the fundamental difference between our opinions is this: I do not believe that the institutional system that we have today is at all from God. I believe that it's entirely man maid. You seem to believe that it came from God, was ordained by God and even though it may be corrupt and have problems, we shouldn't leave it or even suggest to others that they have that option. If we were talking about a Walmart who mistreated it's employees, you would be with me all the way. Our disagreement is on where this system originated from; God or man. You defend the institution because you think it's sacred. I don't find it anywhere in scripture.

  45. Gravatar
    Roger Sharp

    Darin Said: "Roger, If you don't believe that the Holy Spirit guides believers I can't help you with that one." Roger responds: Why are you putting words in my mouth? I whole-heartedly believe the HS guides believers. Darin said: "You are clearly upset and trying with all your might to defend the "system." My question to you is WHY? Why does this upset you so much? Why do you hold this system so dear to your heart? You seem to be in love with it and you certianly put a lot of faith in it." Roger responds: I am not having an emotional response. Why do you think that? I am basing my critique on the information I find in your blogs: "The IC is the woman who rides upon the beast," "..the IS is not at all from God," "..worship is a lie," etc. These are your words. I am opposing them.

  46. Gravatar
    Aida

    This is addressed to Kevin Fifield. I'm sorry that your comments have been lost in all of the other more aggressive comments being posted. Your comment has really touched my heart. If it would help, we have a forum on this site where we discuss our journeys and encourage one another. We don't argue or judge anyone else's journey. We just love and try to walk together as fellow journeyers. We'd love for you to join us. Also, if you'd like a one on one conversation, I'd love to hear from you. My email address is: forgettingtheformerthings@yahoo.com. Feel free to contact me. I'd love to get to know you better and to encourage you.

  47. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    //Mary's 1st post - First off I never talked about people in the Church that causing pain. I think you're assuming that's what inspired this. If so, you're wrong. // Okay, that’s certainly a possibility. //The institution of church once again is not a person. people such as Martin Luther, Mother Teresa, Saint Nicholas of Myra, and the apostle Paul are PEOPLE. They are not an institution.// But they did not condemn the institution to the extent that you are doing: the whore of Babylon. Were they deceived? How do we know? //It's the "system" that the people created.// How is it that the institutionalized system arose? You mentioned Rome and Constantine in the *4th century, but what about the time prior to that? The apostolic fathers, anti-nicene fathers, and into the 3rd century.

  48. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    //Also, the church system we have today was NOT organized by Paul.// I did not mean to imply that it was. But Paul and the early church fathers were organizing the church (it is clear in 1 Timothy 4:14 that Timothy’s evangelism ministry was given or commissioned or entrusted to him by a council of elders…who are they?) Those leaders who followed them continued to organize the church. This can be read about in books such as “Church History in Plain Language” by Bruce Shelley or through researching Christian history using webpages.

  49. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    //What Paul did organize was done away with long long ago.// Please explain the previous statement. //In Pauls day, the people met in homes and shared meals as friends. They didn't sit quietly while one guy talked. They all spoke up. // But that is not how entirely how Jesus or Paul taught. Sometimes they spoke, everyone listened, and questions where addressed afterward (Mount of Olives - Matthew 5, Luke 5 - man lowered on a mat). I guess what I want to know from my postings this time is: What do I do according to a Free Believer's outlook in order to outwork my belief in God? //may sound like heresy to you// Nope. Just checking on how a believer fulfills Scriptures like Matthew 28:19-20, Ephesians 4:11, and the passages with deacons, elders, commissioning people to work and ministry.

  50. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    In reference to your article on Christ building the church: I read it and there is a lot of generalization of churches. You cannot reasonably assert that all of the churches have the intentions and/or problems that you have asserted in your article. This would require special knowledge; ie. a God's eye-view of the world. In this view, I have no sufficient means of 1 Thes. 5:21, "test all things, hold onto the good." It is entirely up to me to determine exactly what Christ is saying to me; even though my mind is a fallible mind and subject to the fallen nature of man. In fact, I think this view self-refutes, because no one can be sure or even test if this view may be wrong, because then you fall prey to the "lies of the institution." (my quotes) How do we check this for falsification?

  51. Gravatar
    Mary Jo Sharp

    //Where in the Bible does it say that WE are supposed to disciple people?// Matthew 28:19-20. Shorten version to address the above statement: Jesus said, “Go and make disciples, baptizing and teaching them to obey everything I commanded you.” The early church fathers seem to agree on training provided by teachers in that they even set up Christian schools as early as the second century. Bruce Shelley "Church History in Plain Language." Darrin, there are certain aspects of what you are saying that are right. But you need to evidence why they are right and determine to what extent the are right (provide references). The broad generalizations seem more divisive than unifying, and are ultimately untrue as over-arching generalizations. Thank you so much for the conversation. MJ

  52. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Mary and Roger, I am going to put an end to this comment section conversation. It's really getting no where. Debates never end in either person changing their mind. If you wish to speak with me further on this subject, feel free to email me personally at darinhufford@cox.net and include your phone number and I'll call you. I'll be home in a few days so you'll have to wait until then for the call. This section of the website is for comments, not for long discussions.

  53. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Kevin - I want to say I'm so sorry for not responding to your post sooner. I promised myself I would respond right away but then go caught up in this crazyness you see below your comment. I want to talk with you personally. I totally understand where you are right now. Please send me your phone number so I can call you darinhufford@cox.net. If you're not comfortable doing that, just email me there and we can talk. Blessings man. Hang in there:)

  54. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I am pre-warning everyone that in one day I am going to delete this long conversation. I'll leave you're original complaint about the article but I'm goiing to delete the exchange that went on and on. This section of the website is not meant to be a forum. Also the spirit of it distracts people from the purpose of this site. We have a forum for discussions like this and I encourage you to go there. I'll allow both Roger and Marry to have their original comment posted where they disagree, but the rest will be taken off. thanks.

  55. Gravatar
    Roger Sharp

    Darin, ?????? Were rules posted for the comment section? We will abide by your rules....your site, your rules. Please post your rules so we know what is acceptable, what is in the right spirit, and what is not acceptable. If the rules change because you don't like what you see, then post detailed rules with detailed explanations. Our goal is not to present a problem for you, but to rightly divide God's Word as is your goal. Our apologies if we have broken some unwritten or written rule. That is not our intention.

  56. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    The problem is that rightly dividing God's word means one thing to one person and another thing to another. rules or no rules, people don't read these articles so they can turn around and read an altercation that lasts about 20 extra posts, where nothing is accomplished. I end up getting emails from folks asking me to delete the conversation because it's destracting. I think we've established that you don't agree with what I've written. That's ok. I will leave your disagreement posted. I'll let you have the last word even. I'm just not interested in carrying this on in front of everyone else. It's not good for anyone. If discussing this is truly what you want; do what I said and email me your phone number. I'm just finished with this. It's fruitless.

  57. Gravatar
    Joe Gomez

    Darin, thanks for expressing in ur blog what my family and I have not had the words to express. After almost 14 years of helping to pioneer an IC and watching the intimacy of a small fellowship grow cold as the organization grew, we took the step of faith to begin being the church in our home. Yes it took almost 14 years but the Lord prepared us along the way. We meet with those who the Lord Jesus sends and have wonderful times of fellowship and making much of Jesus. We still maintain relationships with those in the IC and always focus on building up the body of Christ. My six year old and my sixteen year old get it because they enter into the discussions and ask great questions that the adults and other kids get to answer from the Bible and our own relationship's with Jesus. Thanks again.

  58. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    What a great report Joe. Thanks so much.

  59. Gravatar
    Manuel

    I agree with you in that if Sunday service is the only expression of your faith, then you are right. The real issue is not the IC, but are you following Jesus on a personal level? Is He your Lord, not just on Sunday morning, but everday? Now, the problem with people who drop out is: 1. They start something that is exactly how many of the IC started. Home churches, coffee house (ie. Starbucks) is not a new idea. They just grew and organized. 2. Looking at your website, it's look eerily similar to the IC. You, standing in front of a crowd, preaching! You can call it something different because it's not on Sunday, but it is what it is. If God called you out of the IC, be obedient, but please don't critize something that IS a blessing for thousands and God is still using.

  60. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    It is not the act of standing up in front of people and speaking that is wrong or harmful to people. It is not organization either. The IC I came from had couches, tables, chairs, a bathroom, carpeting, lights and running water. It's silly to think that getting rid of these things is the answer. THe difference lies in whether or not the people are being controlled. You would be surprised to find that MOST people who drop out of IC do not do any of the things you listed. Most of them don't start home churches or hold meetings in Starbucks. They simply live free and have natural relationships. (What if God called me to criticize a system that was actually hurting people????, would you STILL want me to be obedient??)

  61. Gravatar
    Daniel

    FREEDOM! Thanks for writing this article Darin. I'm afraid that 800 characters are not enough for me to describe the change...better put the awakening of my hearts voice that I've quieted and allowed to be silenced for so long. My question is this Darin, how does one go about freeing themselves from this institution and to do so with love? Personally I've built real relationship with people in my church and carry a lot of responsibility. I don't feel that it would be right to just up and leave in a storm and burn bridges. I can't ignore what my heart is telling me anymore either. So how do you go about making the transition in love? I know that we can't control peoples reactions, but we can control ours...so what do you do? Could you write an article on this sometime?

  62. Gravatar
    Daniel

    Or better put, is this something you would consider writing an article on? :)

  63. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Unfortunately, I've never found a way to explain this to "church friends" without them black listing you over it. It seems that no matter how gentle you are in explaining your new beliefs; you are eventually viewed as contaminated by just about everyone who claimed to be your friend. There are some exceptions, but they are few and far between.

  64. Gravatar
    Don Every

    Thanks for the insights Darin. It's hard to explain an entirely new approach to people when they haven't been so enlightened. I have been trying to hear God for all of my life, with a myriad of barriers, fromm all over the place, from inside me included.I know exactly what you mean about the IC, the people and the leaders, and if I don't at any point, I take Solomon's words to heart and 'get knowledge' and wisdom and let it percolate for a while. So much that you, Wayne, Frank and others say has so strummed the cords of my heart that I thirst for the Father and am finding Him at last! I recommend the sceptical to simply wait on God for HIS light in their hearts, and if ANYTHING gets in the way, let it go for the supreme glory of direct communion with God, but don't kill the messengers.

  65. Gravatar
    Lloyd Campbell

    I used to drive the machine. I was the biggest pharisees. But, now i am free from this from 5 years back...when I see stuff like this nowadays on your website I knew that what I leaving a position in IC have set me free. I still attend Church services, but I would never be involved in leadership again. Thank you Lord for freedom...

  66. Gravatar
    Bryan

    Darin, In my opinion your article or blog was well done, and very accurate. I can relate with what you wrote through personal experience. Being a free belever now, and looking in retrospect, I believed you nailed it on the head with what we experience being a member of an IC. Like you, I have no problem with the people, only with the system. I thank the Lord I ran into you at Facebook and became a fan of your community. I'm so happy to realize I'm not alone in my views. Lord bless you my friend, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your articles.

  67. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Thanks Bryan. You rock.

  68. Gravatar
    Finally Living Free

    I am now living in this freedom for almost a year and it feels good! It seems as I became free from religion, I became deeply in bondage in my marriage. I attended a mega church, where my wife is still in leadership, but I can see clearly now. My wife does not want to hear anything I have to say, nor will she sit down with me to look at things in the Word. The few times we did, she was looking at it from the perspective of how we were taught. We both have always thought that we were suppose to start a church. I clearly heard God one day ask me "Why would I call you to start a church when you ARE the church?" My wife looked at me sideways when I shared that with her and does not want to hear anything I have to say regarding this. (continued)

  69. Gravatar
    Finally Living Free

    There's others that I have met that are on the same page as believing the same things, which she does not want me to speak to anymore. Two of the individuals happens to be family members. We were seeking truth at the same time, but not knowing it. My first sign of freedom was realizing that I am not required to "pay" tithes anymore. The more I shared this with people and had scriptures to back up everything I shared, the more people were saying that I am hurt and offended. This subject alone caused a HUGE wall of separation in my home and marriage. I don't force anything on her and don't even bring it up anymore, per her request. I do the best I can to walk in love and respect her desires, but it's hard to continue to allow her to walk in darkness, knowing I can help. Any advice?

  70. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I feel for ya man. It doesn't sound like she's open to anything different from what she was raised with. Will she read any books?

  71. Gravatar
    Finally Living Free

    Not really, unless they are endorsed by our pastor. I've tried to share some things with her about him and she took it personally. She is willing to listen to and read books by a minister that focuses on the family and marriage, but again he too is endorsed by our mega church pastor.

  72. Gravatar
    jenny

    The kind of church I have been in used to have a service where the people could get up and suggest a hymn or pray or read or say something then there would be communion then a sermon by a speaker (a lay person or one of the leading elders - there was not a pastor). But women could not participate and there would always be long silences where nobody would have anything to say. That didn't bother me much but some people cannot stand silence, so that kind of worship has greatly reduced in favour of pre-organised worship now. The collection was a box left unobtrusively down the back. But the bag is passed around now. However, even back then everybody knew the "rules"; even without a great heirarchy of leadership everybody knew what you would and would not do. I remember as a new Christian

  73. Gravatar
    jenny

    giving somebody something I had won in a raffle and did not need and the look on this lady's face!(She did try to temper her horror; I'll give her credit) but I did not know raffles were a no no! So to cut a long story short; you can have an institution without even intending to. This church originally tried to break away from the IC idea. I hope free believers never becomes like that. (Sorry for intimating such a thing could be possible, but people being people, we can make a religion out of anything!!!)

  74. Gravatar
    steve

    Great article mate! However you may want to check the last quote you made regarding Revelation 17. This I found to be far more Biblically and historically sound: http://www.entrewave.com/freebooks/docs/a_pdfs/dcdv.pdf Also Church vs Tradition: http://www.vimeo.com/13219025 Press on brotha!!!

  75. Gravatar
    John West

    First let me say that I sympathise with Darin and his wife over many of the points he makes concerning the institutional church as we know it today, but, although he says that they left without bitterness there is a clear attack on the institutionalised church in his article. Comments like, “not at all what Christ had in mind” and “a rerun of a play, led by hijackers” are hardly neutral comments. I think the dichotomy arises from two main quarters. One is a selective reading of the New Testament Scriptures, the other a confusion of cultural preferences with truth. 1. A careful reading of Acts and the Letters of the New Testament do indeed reveal house churches, but they also reveal a certain amount of structure based around recognised apostles, who passed on the teaching they had been given. It may be argued that all Christians now have that body of information in the Bible and can study it for themselves.

  76. Gravatar
    John West

    This is true, but it was also true for the Jews living in New Testament times, who had the Old Testament revelation. Paul still found it necessary to explain and interpret those Scriptures (as did Jesus to his disciples) even though they clearly reveal the Messiah. The point is that even though the New Testament is a clearer revelation, the whole Bible requires careful reading and interpretation to avoid falling into some pretty nasty pitfalls. What the institutionalised church can do is to provide an understanding of Scripture which has been tried and tested and prayed over and discussed (but may still be challenged) over hundreds of years. The advantage of having different Christian denominations (in my view) is that they provide checks and balances over some of the wild interpretations and practices which can occur when the Scriptures are studied in isolation or in groups which are not accountable to anyone. As the church grew, so did the need for some structure and accountability, part of which was to recognise and refute heretical teaching. Reading the letters of John, Jude and Peter suffice to show the concern that the apostles had over this. We read of Paul giving practical instructions to Timothy as a leader in his selection of leaders, and other references such as Gal 6:16, and 1 Cor 14:38 pointing to rules, regulations and doctrine which were accepted as authentic by the church around the Mediterranean.

  77. Gravatar
    John West

    Organisation is inevitable with growth, as is the establishment of what is authentic doctrine. These are not bad things in themselves as long as they can be challenged and considered. Institutionalised churches at best can provide not only a touchstone but also training in understanding and interpretation of the truth under the guidance of God’s Spirit. Of course, at worst, sectors of the institutionalised church can do just the opposite! One of the great advantages of larger organised expressions of church is the resources they have to do ministry, to help the poor, sick and lonely, to support overseas mission, to address important issues in the public forum and to organise seminars for teaching and equipping of the saints. Because they are visible people can also find them more easily when they need help.

  78. Gravatar
    John West

    2. When it comes to worship there is a tendency on every side to say, “What suits me is right for everyone.” It’s a culturally driven observation rather than a biblical one”. House churches have just as much potential to fall into a pattern of worship and become dictatorial as any form of church and what enables one person to engage with God, does the opposite for others. As someone who grew up through the Open Brethren Assemblies and been active in about six denominations I can say that each of them have provided both exhilarating worship, and experiences which have done the opposite! It’s worth remembering that worship is primarily supposed to be about what we offer to God rather than being about us. Formal worship can be an amazing time of drawing close to God, with rich fellowship during and afterwards. It gives many people stability and structure which has and does carry them through hard times. But it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people love the silences, others can’t stand them --and don’t get me started on musical tastes! I watch the congregation at my church go forward to receive Communion. I often see people interact and embrace each other in the process. There is both the recognition of Christ and of each other, but some appear only to engage with God, (and that’s OK too).

  79. Gravatar
    John West

    Conclusion… Darin and his wife should be free to worship outside the institutionalised church without criticism, though with safeguards against becoming loose cannons, or simply drifting away from the faith. On the other hand their experiences of institutionalised churches are certainly not my present experience. The church I am in now is very active all week. Preaching covers a wide range of Bible passages (though majoring on the centrality of the gospel because we constantly have visitors who need to hear the good news). We do not preach the prosperity gospel. Small groups are not locked in if people want to move. The resources of the church provide for outreach and ministry to all ages, and we are in the process of providing a variety of worship from the formal to more contemporary. And because we not perfect we are open to consider further change. I should mention that the formal side to the worship also provides a breadth which is often missing in other forms of worship I have engaged in. So, every blessing in the house church. I think it quite likely that in two or three generations expressions of worship will have changed considerably in institutional churches. I just pray that we won’t throw out the baby with the bathwater and that in the meantime we won’t lump all our bad experiences of institutional churches into one basket and imagine they are all the same. Institutional churches are comprised of fallible people, but we would be worse off without them.

  80. Gravatar
    Val

    Grateful to read these words tonight. I just came out of a large, non-denominational, "seeker sensitive", "outward focused" church, for the 2nd time in 13 years. I returned after the first departure because I really believed that "people "need" to be there every week in order to grow spiritually." Yet year after year my personal experience was to "come alone, sit alone, worship alone, listen to the sermon alone and leave alone." Painfully discouraging. Other messages/misconceptions further clouded my view of God. Thankfully, this departure, although hard, has been different. Less striving and worry. Markers of growth I hope. Anyway, glad to come upon this site to help confirm that I am far from alone in this. So glad you shared.

  81. Gravatar
    Alana

    Interesting read, I was involved in IC for 30 yrs. I hear your heart Darin, and some of the IC's has become man made with idols of nickels, noses and numbers. Ezekiel 8:6-12 says it well. Not every Body has snakes in the temple but there are systems that do,we need to discern that for our protection and not get bitter. I had left the system after He called me out, (Duet 6:23 Then He brought us out from there that He might bring us in). What is He bringing us into? I am still seeking Him and the new wineskin He wants to develop in order to pour the new wine into. There is a shift in the Spirit as this next move of God is released on the earth to establish His kingdom on earth. Not sure if all of the IC's are open for that and He will move and pour His Spirit out in these days, whether inside or outside of the IC. How can I move with what He is doing today, still my heart cry and constant prayer. Interesting read David Orton "Snakes in the temple" talks about this whole issue in the Body

  82. Gravatar
    Doug in Denver

    WOW what a hot topic. I have seen this debate rage on all over the internet by both sides. I suppose both sides can find scripture to support their argument, but it just seems that defending the institutional church is usually motivated by fanaticism. People that are fans of something can rarely find wrong in what is being criticized. For instance, I see people on YouTube and other forums bringing indictments against abusive charismatic and Pentecostal pastors, and their fans will chime in with defense of what is blatantly wrong. They just seem to gloss over the lies, abuse, mishandling of the word, and so on. I watched *** NAME DROP WARNING *** Gloria Copeland tell her congregation they could command the weather with the words of their mouth and the fans were Amening her. I am like WHATTTT??? Really? WOW! Watch this and the fans are all good with it. Paste all below into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWKCpOK996k&feature=related I realize most ICs are not like this.

  83. Gravatar
    Doug in Denver

    When I was born again, my early experience with Chirst were amazing. I was soooo in love with HIM and I had no doubt he LOVED me. I loved the scriptures and just talking to Christ. I spent most of my early days on a ship at sea never attending a church. A few other believers and I met daily just praying and enjoying the LORD. After returning from a deployment I did what most Christians do, I found a Church, It was actually pretty good as the pastor was real and wasn't an IC guy. But because the MEGA CHURCH PAC MAN gobbled up his church that met in a school and was cool, I started attending a WORD FAITH big star church and my faith was replaced with a sack of sand in my gut. I stayed for 10 freaking years. Why? A fan. My wife liked it but eventually her eyes were opened wide. I praise God for that. My wife gives me room to call this stuff Bee Ess. I feel for the poster above that is divided with his wofe in their faith, that is tough. Darin, dude, you are echoing ideas that people...

  84. Gravatar
    Doug in Denver

    Have had for 100s of years but to have the stones to say it is another thing. And because of the advent of the internet this thing is going to grow. We are not anti church we LOVE the church because the church is people. My lord, you Darin critics- read his other stuff. This cat loves people. The Church!! This site is to catch all of the beloved believers that are falling out of the system because of what it does to people. Not all people but many. It is not anti-church. If you are being drawn closer to Christ in your church then stay and love it. But if you can't see all of the things that Frank Viola and the MYRIAD of others are telling us than I don't have an answer for you other than I think you are you a fan of Church. Jesus put it best. Behold I stand at the door and I knock... Jesus is outside the church knocking. Seriously? Wow, the most astonishing verse in all of scripture. Open up people and he will come in. Done rambling. Peace out

  85. Gravatar
    agm

    There's a lot out of whack here, but what troubles me most is your attitude. So what if your pastor preaches familiar sermons regularly? Who are you to say that you don’t need to hear it? We do need to hear God’s word repeatedly and we trust that it is God who is speaking through the pastor. It’s only when you have a self-centered view of church in the first place that you abandon the church when it doesn’t cater to what you think you need. God has always dwelt among his corporate body by means of institution. God’s faithful did not leave Israel to start their own “tent-churches”. People try to justify this lifestyle with Scripture, but I believe at the heart of it is selfishness. You basically say that going to church is for Christian-babies. Evidently, you've grown beyond infancy and have graduated from needing the church! This comes across as very arrogant. What happened to "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”?

  86. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    agm the problem is that you think the institution of church that we have today was created and instituted by God. You need to study this a bit more. It was Constantine of Rome who created the institutional church system that we have today. He created it several hundred years after Christ. Do you care at all about what's in the bible and what's not agm? There is absolutely no place in all of scripture that describes the church as we know it today. Doesn't that bother you agm??? Are you seriously okay with that?? The idea that when the pastor preaches a sermon, it's God's word isn't scriptural either agm. You've just been taught that and so you believe it, but it's nowhere in the bible. God NEVER desired a relationship with you where He had to go through a pastor to speak to you. The whole reason He sent His Son was so God would speak directly to YOU without anyone having to go in between.

  87. Gravatar
    agm

    I have several problems with the modern church,but that doesn't mean I abandon her. Christ hasn't. The body of Christ has many imperfections but Christ will bring us to maturity. You keep harping on the "IC" but which churches do you include in this? Any church with a building and sign? Then put a sign on the door of any home church and you automatically have an "IC". The institution is inescapable. Your criticism can only be toward people in the church who are far from God, but not the "institution itself." Otherwise, the apostles got it wrong from the beginning. I also never said God couldn't speak to me directly. The job of a pastor is to speak God's word to the corporate body in the context of ministry. You cannot deny this. St. Paul speaks God's word and you think you are speaking God's word,are you not? If not, then stop telling us what God's word on tithing and "church" is. You've said that you are too mature for church. Are you willing to stand behind that assertion?

  88. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Once again the problem with us having a conversation here is that you are stuck on believing that the "church" is what you were raised to believe it is. I have a problem with the Institution. The CHURCH is people who know Him and believe in him. I just don't go to the organized institution of church. Why? Because it's NOT Church as described in the bible. The PEOPLE are the church. I don't expect you to see this. In fact, I know you don't and you probably won't for quite some time. Trust me in this - there is no bible verse, argument or piece of doctrine you can throw at me that I haven't seen a hundred times before. The body of Christ is NOT the once a week building with a pastor, youth pastor, coir, offering plate........ The body of Christ is the believers. There is no place in all of scripture that says we must attend one of these places we call "church." All of that is man made. I can (and do) live my life connecting with other Christians and growing in Christ.

  89. Gravatar
    agm

    Why do you separate people from the rituals that direct their lives? Your distinctions don't make sense. The church is the PEOPLE of God, the bride and army of Christ. Who disputes this? But just as any organic family unit, they congregate together at special times (Sunday) and special places (buildings)to feast and fellowship. It's not confined there, but it's a primary post. This is the model that we see displayed for us throughout the entire Bible. There is a progressive move from Garden to Tabernacle to Temple. All three represented Christ, his Bride, and Heaven itself simultaneously. No one believes a building itself is the bride of Christ, but the meeting place represents the people just as the tabernacle/temple always represented the people of Israel (Ezek. 43:10-17; Ex. 25:2-3). Your argument is not clever. Which churches are "IC"? Are you too mature to sit under a pastor? And please explain why anyone should listen to you if God doesn't use mediators to deliver his word.

  90. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I don't ask anyone to listen to me. My entire ministry is about encouraging people to listen to their own hearts. THEY have the answers inside of them. They don't need a pastor to speak the word of God to them. It's not about being "to mature" to listen to a pastor, it's about entering into the New Testament era where God's spirit is now the one we listen to. We don't need a pastor to go to God for us. His spirit guides us into all truth. This is what your missing. The IC or the building of church is NOT the parallel of the tabernacle or temple described in the Old Testament. Jesus changed all that. WE are now the temple of God. We are the living stones that make up the church. You are looking for a system that looks like the pre-cross system. You're not seeing that that system is done away with. We not have God living inside of us. We don't need a pastor to teach us. It's not about being arrogant or to mature. It's about understanding what's available to us and grasping it.

  91. Gravatar
    agm

    Jesus came as the true temple, he did not scrap the whole system. The temple/tabernacle always represented Christ, heaven and his people, as I said previously. How else can Ezekiel give the measurements of the temple to convict Israel of sin?! Only if they recognized that they were the living, breathing temple. But that didn't negate the necessity or practicality of central houses of worship. This is the book of Hebrews 101. I alluded to this earlier, but I'll reiterate: every time you read the Bible you are reading the words of Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, Paul, Peter, Luke, John, et al. We trust by faith that the Holy Spirit has spoken through them. If you still study the Bible, then you use men to tell you God's word. God did not come down and pen Scripture. But even if God didn't use men to teach anymore, then you still should've gotten that truth from the Bible (i.e. from men). This shows the logical impossibility of your argument.

  92. Gravatar
    agm

    Furthermore, if you define the "IC" as any church with a building,then why do you speak in them? You say you aren't asking anyone to listen to you, but you have a blog, you speak publicly, you write books, you debate. All of that presupposes the want to be listened to. You reject tithing by percentage, yet you ask for a set price for your books. To be consistent with your own position, you should only worship with Christians outdoors; you should give your book away for free; and should never blog, debate, preach or write again. Otherwise, you're no better than the leaders of the "IC" you despise.

  93. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    I'm not sure how you come to all these arguments but they don't make a bit of sense. Asking for a price for a book and telling people that if they don't give 10% of their income to you God won't bless them are two TOTALLY different mentalities. You also seem to be forgetting the purpose of what Moses, Paul, Peter, Luke, John and all the others wrote about. They were leading us to the New Testament era where we would all become living Epistles. WE would become the writers. I"m not going to carry on this conversation any longer because it's clear to me that you are missing the entire point. I have a feeling that you are a Pastor and are offended by this because it challenges your livelihood. Either way, it's clear that you can't see this. Know this. Whether you like it or not, there is a MASS exodus taking place all over the world where people are getting this revelation and learning that they don't need the man made system of church anymore.

  94. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    There are now more Christians who have left the man made church system then there are who still attend. It's happening at a rapid pace. Over 1500 pastors a month are stepping down from their positions and leaving. Over a million Christians a month are leaving their Sunday buildings because they are getting something that you obviously aren't seeing. When Jesus came to the Temple with the disciples he prophesied that there would not be one stone standing on another. He was prophesying the end of one system and the beginning of a new one. From that point on the early christians met in their homes on a daily basis. There wasn't another (building) until Constantine of Rome built one. You may want to hold to that system for dear life all you want, but it's falling away and believe it or not the people who once went there aren't falling away. In fact, they are stronger in the Lord than they've ever been. Like if or not, it's happening.

  95. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    No one is debating whether or not we can hear God's voice through other people. If you think that's what I"m saying; you're putting words in my mouth. I'm just telling you that the idea that we NEED a "pastor" to speak the words of God to usis an OT concept that doesn't apply today.

  96. Gravatar
    agm

    I'm not a pastor, but I want to clarify that when I say it's a pastor's job to speak the words of God, I do not mean that others cannot. Christians have the Holy Spirit, so God's truth flows from each of us into one another. We "NEED" to hear a pastor speak God's word to us, and we "NEED" to hear our wives speak God's word to us. There is no ontological difference between a pastor and his congregation, but in the context of worship the pastor is the one the people have chosen to be that voice to them. I do not believe this model is OT-only since the first apostles clearly set up Christian meeting places (in homes, synagogues, etc.) and St. Paul is very clear about the necessity of church discipline. You can't have church discipline unless you have a church government, you can't have a church government unless you have a body of ecclesiastical leaders to shepherd the local fellowship. I perceive your view of church as anarchistic. Thanks for your time.

  97. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Where do you get that we "NEED" to hear a pastor speak God's word to us?? Where is that in scripture?? Why didn't Jesus tell us that? The problem with what you are saying when you say "the pastor is the one the people have chosen to be that voice to them" is that this wasn't God's intent. He wanted and still wants to speak directly to each of us. That is why He sent his Son. Adam and Eve didn't have a pastor speaking the words of God to them did they? Christ restored the garden relationship between man and God. To elect another person to be a mediator between us and God is missing the point. It's missing the intent of the cross. Yes, the Apostles set up meetings in homes and synagogues but those meetings didn't look anything like what we do in "church" today. There wasn't a pastor preaching a sermon once a week. THE PEOPLE each brought a word from the lord. THE PEOPLE each brought a song or a hymn they wanted to sing. What they set up then looked NOTHING like what we practice today.

  98. Gravatar
    agm

    Adam and Eve are the perfect example. Adam was the priest of the Garden and "mediator" to Eve. God gave Adam the prohibition from the Knowledge Tree before Eve was created (Gen. 2). After Eve was created, God explained that ALL trees would be good to eat (Gen. 1). But in Genesis 3, Eve already knows that the Knowledge Tree is temporarily off-limits. She wouldn't have known this unless Adam served as her liturgical instructor. Here we have the first "church" community who met with God in the garden-sanctuary, Adam being the Chief Shepherd (not Eve). This model flows into the NT. We are priests by union with Christ to ONE ANOTHER, not to ourselves. God set up elders in the NT just as he did priests in the OT with authority over subjects for instruction and discipline (and excommunication!) This is only possible in a structured, organized, institution of believers (church). Do home churches have ruling elders, accountability and disciplinary action? Please explain the "true model" for me.

  99. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Pardon me my friend but that was about the biggest string of religious poppycock statements I've seen in a very long time. 90% of what you just wrote isn't in scripture AT ALL. This is the problem with the state of the Christian religion. It's amazing how many things must be read into, assumed and added too in order to come up with something this mentality. I shouldn't complain because I used to preach stuff like this myself. I never once said that we were priests by union to ourselves. I've always included the "one another" part and always will. It wasn't God who set up elders for instruction and discipline and excommunication. It was Paul, and he did so in only one or two churches. You can't take a letter that was specific to one church and make it for all churches. Though I don't attend an IC I have people (elders if you want to call them that) who are over me and who have a position in my life where they can bring correction when ever they feel necessary.

  100. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    We're just going to have to agree to disagree. I know the world you come from because I've spent the first twenty years of my Christian life there. The fact of the matter is that we're not going to convince each other of anything here so there's no point in continuing on. I know that when you believe something, it's next to impossible to see anything different. You'll only see what it is that you believe. The sad fact is that if YOU are right, God's system if failing miserably. Christianity is now the fastest declining religion in the world. Christian people who attend church are more unhappy and unfulfilled than they've ever been according to statistics. The present system has literally NO affect on the world whatsoever. It's dying at a rapid pace and killing people with it. I would ask you personally, "how's it working for you?" but I already know what you'd say. We'll part ways and you do what you believe is right and I'll do my thing.

  101. Gravatar
    Andre van der Merwe

    Darin, you have the balls to articulate what millions of believers feel, but don't know what to do about it. You are a forerunner in this revolution. The body is sick - choking on the traditions and crippling politics and maniplulative tactics employed by the IC. I've been outside the IC for 1 year now and meeting with like minded people at our homes - we are having the time of our lives! A few months ago I wrote this article: How can we GO to church if we Are the church: http://www.newcovenantgrace.com/go-to-church-be-church/ And also this one that exposes the subtle and manipulative tactics employed by those who have changed what was supposed to be FUNCTIONS in the body into TITLES: http://www.newcovenantgrace.com/church-leadership/ Keep up the good work here on FBN!!!!! In Grace Andre

  102. Gravatar
    Andre van der Merwe

    AGM, the difference between the manmade institutional church and God's real church (the body) is that you can only be born into God's Church (by being born again). It is a spiritual thing. On the other hand you can become a "member" of the IC if you join them, attend their organized meetings regularly and stay a member if you jump through their religious hoops long enough and don't ask the wrong questions. ;-)

  103. Gravatar
    Berni

    I have to say bravo! I have steped out to freedom myself after 12 years of doing my best to bring change to the machine. I was hurt many times but I stuck with it hoping things would change, they never did. I saw friend after friend leave and when they left they were dropped like as if they had committed the unpardonable sin. My husband still attends and I respect his wishes and we are learning how to talk about it and still be in unity. I attend a homegroup and things are better, not perfect but we are learning. I appreciate all the comments because there is do much to learn from them. Thanks for keeping them up. I now go pray for the sick in hospitals minister to the homeless and do Moore now because I actually have time now instead of working for the machine. I am grateful for people like you and our group Revival Or Riots who have brought support. It is not easy stepping out of the machine but worth it.

  104. Gravatar
    Paul

    Thanks, Darin. A great article, reflecting accurately what many of us feel the Lord has shown us, and have lead us out of. After being in the institutional church for about 20 years, I have finally kicked this bad habit, having been convinced that even the institutions that claim to preach radical grace (the last church I attended), has also failed us because of their institutional agendas and control. Now I find myself within an organic community of Christians, who do meet twice a week, and also more than that. There is no pastor, no meeting leader - only Jesus who is the head of the meetings. We are still trying to detox from institutional ways. But God has truly met with us in wonderful ways, and the freedom to contribute is amazing - the PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS. At last! We meet in someone's home, and there is no pressure to perform or even to attend. But we are all friends, and want to gather, because we want to meet with the Lord, and with each other.

  105. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Sounds like a great group of people Paul. You're blessed to have them:)

  106. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Sounds like a great group of people Paul. You're blessed to have them:)

  107. Gravatar
    James Pesch

    Darin, I have come to agree with you on leaving the IC. My one question that I can't shake is this: "Didn't the Apostle Paul dictate the actions of believers when they came together?" and if so, has today's "Pastor" taken on this role? I know this seems like a silly question, but the church at Corinth seems much like an IC which would give biblical validity to an IC. Thanks!

  108. Gravatar
    James Pesch

    Nevermind, after reading the ENTIRE comment thread, I'm happy with my decision and know that I'm following the heart of the Father whether or not Paul dictated the fellowship of other believers. I don't need it want it.

  109. Gravatar
    James Pesch

    Darin, I've spent my entire life in the IC. Your article right or wrong is obviously a strong stand for freedom from tyranny whether it is a popular dictatorship or not, as well as a strong focus on each individuals personal relationship with an incredibly loving Father. The comment thread possesses many views that contradict your article. I could not find one defense of the IC that was written with an agenda that was at all reflective of the transformation which occurred in myself when I was removed from the kingdom of darkness. Your writings reflect that heart, that transformation, and that conviction to defend at all cost the purity and simplicity of this coveted gift: Relationship.

  110. Gravatar
    Jim

    My particular "heart burn" with "church" as it is currently presented is that is appears to me like they find the only deaf person in the congregation, put them in the only acoustically dead area of the room and give them the controls to the PA system with the instruction to adjust it to their own comfort level.

  111. Gravatar
    ISRAEL:

    brother you need to go to the right church or in other word ensambly of the saint . then you will know what church is all about. here in africa we don't acuse .but we demonstrate the power,glory.and love of the kingdom, please reach aut and don't critics.love cover and cure; it does not critics.we from the kingdom have power to change things but not acuse.jesus died even for ignorant people.all you have in all your walk with the father is it to acuse the church? OR TO BUILD THE KINGDOM; i love you brother but please it time to build and demonstrate love, glory,vertue. not to acuse.and fighting doctrine. GOD BLESS YOU/

  112. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Israel what you call the "church" has become a business in America. It's not about accusing the body of Christ. Actually the "body of Christ" is doing quite well in America. I believe in "the body of Christ." I am apart of that "body" and have absolutely no complaints whatsoever. It is the "businesses" that I am speaking about in this article. Jesus Christ pointed out these same things in the Church when He walked the earth. You could just have easily accused Jesus and John the Baptist of being "accusing" with their words. John the Baptist actually screamed and called names at the Pharisees of his time. These men were representatives of the "church" of that time. John was actually called by God to do just that. Would you have stood on the side lines and told John that he was being accusing??? Please don't tell me that you don't accuse in Africa because you clearly do. You have accused me, without knowing my heart or listening to what this article is saying,

  113. Gravatar
    alana

    I wonder if Jesus was to come to the American "church" today if He would be welcomed. When He came in His time "His own didn't recognize Him" I don't think He could be a Christian today in North American "church". We would have difficultly with His power, His purity and Him only doing what He sees the Father doing and saying what He hears the Father saying. That would challenge most leaders today I am sure. We really need to make some changes in our hearts. We may need to be broken in some areas to be healed to what the kingdom is all about.

  114. Gravatar
    alana

    Darin: I really appreciate your forerunner spirit establishing the kingdom of God on earth. We are going through a transition from "Church" to the kingdom. Some of us don't fit in the current church as God has placed a vision in us to see His kingdom on earth. For the masses and latter day rain that is coming on the earth we need to go from church to the kingdom. Keep running with your torch, we need more of you. This website is encouraging to know that their are others out there who have caught how the Spirit is leading us out to bring us in. Sometimes we are misunderstood, accused and rejected. But when that seed is placed in your heart and spirit it will not DIE!

  115. Gravatar
    NaomiStar

    My husband and I were born in the IC, we met in Youth Group but grew desperately uncomfortable on the pew. Little did we know God was leading us to freedom. Long story short, we left the Church to study for ourselves the early church of the New Testament. Our guilt and fear weighted us down, but the truth we were learning and applying to our lives was so much greater. As a result, our teen daughters have a more intimate relationship with God than we ever did at their age. Their understanding of the Bible is deep, their wisdom is a testimony of God's faithfulness. My husband and I love each other more than when we first met 23 years ago. We are learning what it means to trust in God, what it really means to accept His love and give back generously. And now, we are directed to this website and we know it is for such a time as this in our lives. We needed to know there were others out there of a like mind. A remnant of believers living in true freedom. I will read more articles, thanks.

  116. Gravatar
    Judy

    I have been struggling for about two years as to what I am supposed to be doing about church. I know I love Jesus, he has redeemed me but every time I think about going yo church I want to cry. But I know I need fellowship and to worship with other saints. I still don't have an answer to where

  117. Gravatar
    Darin Hufford

    Judy why not just trust Him to bring fellowship into your life. Remember - YOU are church. You don't GO to church, you ARE the church. Also, worship is not really supposed to be a corporate thing. In the New Testament times, worship is personal - between you and God. It sounds like you're new here. I want to suggest a few things. First, I'd like you to scroll through my personal blogs and read a few. One is called "Going for the Worship". Another is "What is Worship?" If you go to the "Articles" section I wrote one called "The Church That Christ Built". Also you might listen to the "Into the Wild" show. It's a podcast show you can access from the home page. Finally, You should join the forum. Look at the top of the home page for the tab that says "forum." It's all free. I think some of these things might help you process what you're feeling. Blessings Judy:)

  118. Gravatar
    OhOh!:)

    Amen. I thank the Lord Jesus for leading me to this page. I've been looked down on by own family simply because I don't choose to attend any "church services" including the extra ones in the weekdays. Every time I went I just couldn't be something that I am not but when God reveals things about him and his words including my character everything. I'm filled with joy sometimes it's hard because God taught us to deny ourselves and take up the cross and follow Yahushua, not a church service. I love everything about your post, In revelation 18 it speaks about come out of her, this is referring to the Church system". This can go in forever but thank you so much for posting this. When I was attending church services I felt alone as ever! Well that's my experience. But once I left my life Gods hands wow! My life has been slowly changing, it's no longer a routine anymore but it's the way of life. God bless you brother and I thank God for leading you to write this post. Amazing! Your Sis

  119. Gravatar
    Gil Burgos

    WOW. There's a lot of truth on the article. Darin has hit the nail on the head. Agree 100% with this one. Pastor Gil Burgos

  120. Gravatar
    Jim Brettell

    Please consider my book on this subject: http://www.littlerocknetchurch.com/cisp.htm Christianity in Spiritual Perspective: Are You Sick-and-Tired of Being Sick-and-Tired.

  121. Gravatar
    Apollos Handan

    The article is good but is confusing and misleading. I'm not sure if all was said has biblical truth in it.

  122. Gravatar
    Apollos Handan

    The article is good but is confusing and misleading. I'm not sure if all was said has biblical truth in it.

  123. Gravatar
    Aida Calder

    Apollos, Darin has been sick for a while and won’t be able to respond to your comment so I’d like to respond for him. It’s been a while since I read the article so I read it again but I’m not sure I understand what your concerns are. Can you please be more specific and tell me what you think is misleading about the article and what parts are not biblically true?

  124. Gravatar
    SJ

    Great article I would only add one thing and that is how many of these religious institutions also shame and condemn you if you are not able to tithe ten percent on every dollar, like I was as a single parent when my husband walked out. They quote that Malachi 3:8-9 curse and many gullible bible illiterates do not have a clue what Jesus meant by Paid in full on the cross. When I pointed out to some of these robots that if you are in Christ you have the favor of God free of charge based on Romans 8:32. Galatians 3:13 declares those in Christ free from curses but lo and behold what their Pastor or Priest brainwashes them into thinking hold more weight than the actual bible itself. In my state most of all Christian Protestant churches are closed on Christmas the most important Holy Day of them all alongside Resurrection Day named Easter after a pagan goddess. Pastors is it wrong for us to expect for you all to be open on Christmas if it falls on a weekday and to do your job?

  125. Gravatar
    SJ

    Most Christian tithe and think it is okay to see a fatherless kid not have a decent coat or shoes in the winter cause the church controls who you give to with that bring all the tithes into the store house crap. Jesus said what you do to the least of those is done unto him. There is little room for compassion outside of who the church tells you directs you to help and give to. Shame for shame many feel justified in walking pass that struggling widow or single parent with kids with holes in their shoes cause the Pastor said they must not be tithing or they'd be blessed with prosperity. Sounds like an excuse to not help the poor but hurt the poor. Sad

  126. Gravatar
    SJ

    Most Christian tithers at the churches I attended would walk by and see a fatherless kid not have a decent coat or shoes in the winter because those churches controls who you give to and brainwash you with that quote they twist to bring all the tithes into the store house crap. Jesus said what you do to the least of those is done unto him. There is little room for compassion outside of who the church tells you directs you to help and give to. Shame for shame many feel justified in walking pass that struggling widow or single parent with kids with holes in their shoes cause the Pastor said they must not be tithing or they'd be blessed with prosperity. Sounds like an excuse to not help the poor but hurt the poor. Sad

  127. Gravatar
    Janet Ross

    A friend gave me this link when I frustratedly posed this question: What is a church for? Before my EBT (food stamp) days the announcement that our very small congregation was going to invest in another 3-4 ft. section of speaker would have gone completely unnoticed by me...but now I can't help but think the apostle Paul would have torn his clothing and said, "You have people in your congregation going hungry...WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" It was then, for the first time, I could no longer make excuses for seeing my church as simply another government that I must give to and see nothing for it. We have asked for help...once. The stern look we got with it told its own story. I couldn't help it. I did the math. Over $800 in tithe (when times were good) and you think giving us $100 is twisting your arm? I just can't be used anymore.

  128. Gravatar
    Melissa

    For years, like Elijah, I thought I was the only one. :) But there are many of us waking up to our true calling and identity in Jesus Christ! I appreciate your putting into words what He has written on our hearts. Years ago a few friends and I were praying together, and I saw(on the backs of my eyelids) an explosion of light breaking up the earth. I had the sense that no one was prepared for the intensity of what was coming. At the same time, these words were dropped into my spirit so powerfully (like a substance that became a prayer),"Eyes and ears to see and hear!" Over the yrs praying this, my eyes have opened to see how the inst. church is "highjacking" the identity and worship of the Body of Christ. Holy Spirit is waking us up! Giving us eyes to behold Jesus as He truly is, and ears to hear his voice and follow. He is leading us out of the bondage of empty and dead religion. Oh, happy day! Jesus is building his church, and we will be as He is...glorious!

  129. Gravatar
    David

    This article is missing a very important perspective. Church is not about you. Its about learning how to love; loving God and loving others. As a body we need one another to enter into the fulness of these two aspects of love. If your experience is leading you to this sort of cynicism you should switch churches cause you're not in the right place. Or, you should examine your own motives.

  130. Gravatar
    Clif

    The alternative scare tactics is that they say' well the early Church sold everything and had everything in common'...to put you in your place.... Of course they did'nt, because they 'met in Houses..and shared food'..which says they never sold their houses, must of had cookers and pots and pans and plates..and tables and chairs to sit on....so they DID not sell everything....lets be honest. Did they have everything in common...no because they had THEIR houses but they considered all in common. Big diference. These were the early Christians that had the Life and lived the life. Then the UnHoly Rome killed them and set up the institution. The form of Religion without the Life. So we get Church and not Community. Churches are the daughters of Rome, re Revelations.

  131. Gravatar
    Lorre

    I wish I had the courage to say the things you said in this article, and not feel condemned about it. Living with chronic illness and pain, I gave up on forcing myself to to church many years ago. One time as my husband and I were leaving after the service it occurred to me that we go, listen, and come home and barely talk to anyone on our way out, so we'd be just as we'll watching church on TV. So that's what we do now, and it is fitting my needs much better,.

  132. Gravatar
    Happy

    I can relate to your article. I've once felt that way about church, until I realized I was sitting in a "lukewarm" church. However, a church where the Holy Spirit is present, there is a freshness, newness, and excitement because nothing about God is dull or boring. A spirit-filled church allows the Holy Spirit to lead vesus a pre-designed program and rituals.

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