Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

What happened to the church?

2/12/13

 

 

The church of the first century served to introduce the ideas of universal brotherhood to mankind under its evangelistic mandate, especially in the ministry of Paul. This universal outreach drew attention to the ideas of unity instead of separation, love and cooperation instead of sectarian conflict, and forgiveness as opposed to retribution. In promoting these Christian virtues the church served a very benevolent purpose in the years immediately following the ministry of Jesus.

 

Gradually though, over the subsequent centuries, the church has morphed from the intimate fellowship groups of the first century into the highly structured institution we now know and experience. During its centuries long evolution the church has lost track of its original purpose, to extend the knowledge of God's Love to all mankind. Today, instead of being a beacon of enlightenment, drawing attention to the Creator and guiding mankind to abundant living, the church is known and largely ignored for being obsessed with stale dogmas, tradition driven ritualism, and complete obsession with man's shortcoming and the need to condemn and segregate. Instead of unifying and spiritually elevating, many Christian religious services are sectarian diatribes against outsiders and thinly disguised celebrations of Christian religious superiority. More and more the present day church is the most reactionary element of our society, being consumed by political forces and enthralled by political warfare.

 

A fundamental problem with the church is that it has assumed a perpetuity to its first century evangelical mission. Subsequently, after that mission was declared accomplished long ago  (Matthew 24:14,24; Colossians 1:6,23; Romans 16:26),  the present day church ignores the clear declaration of the scriptures and co-opts to itself the eternal role of God's earthly administrators. Ignoring the primary elements of what Jesus taught and exemplified in His lifestyle and ministry, this religious institution formulated the tenets of a religion called Christianity based on the age old religious assumptions of sacred rules, a divinely chosen few, God called religious leaders, and a constant struggle against outsiders. A message more at odds with the basic principles of love, peace, joy, and unity as taught by Jesus could not be imagined.

 

What we have now is a humanly devised religious organization concerned primarily with maintaining its own position of profound influence. The motivation behind the church's exercise of power is always said to be benevolent, but, in fact, church leaders have always demonstrated the same propensity as mankind in general to be corrupted by power and to operate harmfully.

 

In answer to the question above, I suggest this. The original church ceased to exist long ago after its mission was declared completed. In its place religiously minded men have built a new entity which mixes a hodgepodge of doctrines which partially illuminate but more often confuse and misdirect those seeking God. God has promised a personal, internally directed knowledge of Him (Hebrews 8:10-13). That automatically denies the claim of any group to be the disseminators of that knowledge.