The church’s idea of Christian growth is still bounded or restricted by the creedal statements and all the myriad humanly managed processes which brought the Bible and the institutional church into our lives. Christians are supposed to grow in knowledge and spirituality but must never question all this mystery of church history. Creeds must be honored and the Bible as we have it must be accepted along with its traditional church interpretation.
The concept of personal Christian growth or evolution is thus effectively reduced to being endlessly indoctrinated in the creeds and the traditions of the individual denominations. Any who truly question and stretch for a fuller, truer understanding must be labeled as heretics or apostates and expelled from the church in order to maintain the church’s control over the rest.
In this kind of religious atmosphere, anyone who is interested in real spiritual growth must abandon Christianity in the traditional sense in order to maintain any measure of spiritual freedom and integrity. These dissidents who insist on the right to grow beyond the church are the harbingers of a new, fuller sense of identity with Christ, one which actualizes the peace, joy, and freedom for which Jesus ministered and died.
Any meaningful sense of a personal faith cannot be anchored to or defined by rigid dogmas which are then enforced by human agency. That means that the church as we know it is not the mechanism to promote either personal faith or spiritual growth. In fact, it’s very purpose is to eliminate personal growth and promote lock step conformity to the past.